Friday, March 30, 2007

Torn Curtain

Matthew 27:50-51
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split.

O Living Word of God!
I’ll never understand the depth of Your incredible sacrifice, nor will I comprehend the high cost of it. Even the most brilliant minds in the universe can’t search out the greatness of it. Your wisdom, love and grace are inconceivable. You sure do use unpleasant and unusual occurrences to shake us up and get our attention!

Calvary’s Cross was the place where Your Spirit unmistakably collided with miserable man. It was our outrageous errors and poor judgment that caused the brutal impact. Voluntarily dying in the wicked wreck, You gave up Your Spirit, absorbing the full price and pain of it with Your heart. The earth trembled, and rock hard, unmovable hearts shattered into a million little pieces. Mine was one of them.

The curtain separating me from You was aggressively torn in two from heaven to earth as Your body was violently ripped by the soldiers whips, cruelly torn by the crown of thorns, horribly crushed by the weight of the Cross, and split in two by the piercingly sharp point of the carpenter’s nails. In the repulsiveness of Your broken and bloodied body, I find the magnificence of an open door.

The veil of guilt and shame that kept me hidden from You was immediately stripped away to reveal all that it cost You to adopt me. By the way of Your precious, priceless blood I can boldly walk through heaven’s door into Your High and Holy presence. Approaching Your gracious, glorious throne, in awe of Who You are and what You’ve done, I can bravely ask You, my Father, for help in my time of need, fully expecting You to sympathize with my weakness. At the seat of mercy, You will bless me with Your unbelievable compassion and unimaginable grace.
To You be all glory, honor and praise for the indescribable, inexplicable, incredible things You have done! Hallelujah, thank You Jesus! Amen.

Ponder the indescribable, inexplicable, incredible gift of the Cross while your heart sings “To God Be the Glory.”

Thursday, March 29, 2007


Mark 15:24
They crucified him.

Galatians 2:20
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Suffering Servant,
I marvel at the mystery of the cruel and unusual punishment You endured for me on Calvary’s Cross. Why would You, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe empty Yourself of divine power, live as a human, and humbly, obediently, and voluntarily suffer the shameful death of a slave? You took the punishment that was due me, allowing me to freely live. Oh my God, how is this kind of love possible?

When the soldiers swung the hammer, driving the spikes into Your flawless hands and feet, the blood began to trickle and then gush covering all of my faults and failures. All of my pains and disfigurements, all of my pretenses and deceits, all my passions and desires were completely killed – not controlled, concealed or counteracted, but crucified with You – dead and buried. On the Cross, my individuality was completely broken and my Spirit was made at-one with Yours. My death certificate was signed and sealed by Your blood.

At the same time, my birth certificate was signed and sealed by Your Spirit, giving me a revolutionary new life. I no longer have the rights and privileges of the past. I’ve been liberated to live a radically different lifestyle on a higher plane. Fully surrendered to Your supremacy, I am now Your suffering servant.

Search my heart O God, and show me anything that I haven’t relinquished to You. I want to be completely eradicated of my former way of living so that the only thing remaining of my flesh and blood is Your beautiful life freely, copiously, and lovingly flowing through me. My sole motivation in life is to be so passionately, personally, and powerfully identified with You that with all my heart, mind, soul and strength I’ll humbly, obediently, and voluntarily suffer to do Your will Your way because of Jesus, the Son of God who lives in me. Amen.

Ask God to search your heart and show you anything you haven’t surrendered to Him. Then nail it to the Cross, no matter how painful. Crucified with Him, His blood will cover all of your faults and failures allowing you to live a victorious new life.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Lord of Love

1 John 4:9-10
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Sweet Father in Heaven,
How can I ever thank You for Your revolutionary love? Even though I’ve experienced it, I can’t describe it - it’s unspeakable. It’s unending and unselfish. I can’t do a thing to earn it and I certainly do not deserve it. It’s unmerited and unconditional. I ought to be struck dead at Your feet. Instead, by Your supernatural, sacrificial, satisfying love, the blood of Your Son has completely cleared away the damage and destruction from my past. You miraculously put a spring in my step, a song in my heart, a smile on my face and gave me an abundant new life.

Because of Your radical, amazing love intentionally exhibited on the Cross at Calvary, I can enjoy an intimate experiential relationship with You. I can live like You and love like You, confidently expecting to receive the rich, divine, imperishable, eternal inheritance You promise. Living in Your presence, I’m full of praise, power and perfect love. Enamored by You, there’s no room in my heart for fear or failure, criticism or complaints, pain or problems.God of Love, I just want to live in blessed adoration of You every day of my life demonstrating unwavering, irrepressible, triumphant faith in Your promises so that I can trust Your extraordinary love to make me at-one with Jesus through whom I live and breath and have my being. Hallelujah! Amen.

Confess your fears and failures. Admit your critical spirit. Name your problems and pain. Turn around and face the amazing Lord of Love. Looking into His face, praise Him for the perfect love He intentionally demonstrated on the Cross at Calvary.

God has commanded that we live in victory. That means no matter what you’re going through, no matter how dark it looks, you can be encouraged that the darkness has to give way to the light. Defeat has to give way to victory! But in order to open the door to victory, we must continually do what the psalmist did and constantly name the pain and praise His name.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Serving the Bridegroom

Dr. Blackaby taught me that it’s important to process an encounter with God before getting back in the boat. In Mark 6 the disciples had just witnessed the miraculous feeding of 5000 when they immediately got in the boat and encountered a fierce storm. Jesus came to them on water, and even though they had just been with Him and witnessed a sensational wonder they didn’t recognize Him because they didn’t take time to process what had occurred.

Learning from that example, I chose not to get right back in the boat, but to stay on the shore and ponder the things that had happened this weekend. After processing my encounter, I’ll begin publishing Prayer Pal again. Instead, I’m writing this account of what the Lord has done so that it may be an everlasting witness.

Last week, God spoke fire into my heart through John 3:29-30.

The bride belongs to the Bridegroom. The friend who attends the Bridegroom waits and listens for him and is full of joy when he hears the Bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine and it is now complete. He must become greater and I must become less.

That joy is mine and it is complete! Amen!

I was going to this special occasion as a friend of the Bridegroom. Since my purpose was to simply serve Him wholeheartedly, it was crucial that I wait and carefully listen for Him. As long as I absolutely submitted to His agenda it was sure to be a joyous celebration.

The theme for our weekend was “Hearts Aflame: A Celebration of Praise.” God had ordained and orchestrated a weekend of thanksgiving, praise and worship.

Friday night the women arrived at our castle retreat (pictured above) with their heavy physical, mental, emotional and spiritual baggage. While they marveled at the beautiful atmosphere, they also grumbled and complained. Because these women were completely and utterly exhausted from their walk in this world, there was little heartfelt joy.

After dropping their heavy luggage in their spacious rooms, we encouraged them to drop their mental, emotional, and physical baggage in the prayer room, each having written on a sheet of paper the concerns they brought with them. A prayer team of five dedicated servants passionately served the Bridegroom by praying over these burdens all weekend.

Saturday morning worn out, weary ladies showed up for the first session on Thanksgiving with sour hearts. “The bed was too hard.” “I didn’t sleep at all last night.” “My room was too cold.” “Why aren’t we having live music?” Their inexpressive praise and worship was about to change as God used His beloved daughters to stir up love in their hearts.

Charlotte, who exemplifies an attitude of gratitude, was able to gently draw the women in with her sweet heart, and warm and welcoming words. She sent them out with their Bibles to discover the Lord’s teaching on thanksgiving. Returning an hour later with changed hearts and minds, they publicly expressed thanks to God for all kinds of things. God was beginning to work a miracle.

Before departing for a free afternoon, I challenged them to help one another turn their criticism and complaints to praise. While they were out playing, I was in the prayer room praying for the evening session that I would lead on Continuous Praise.

A Holy Spirit wildfire was burning in my heart because the Bridegroom had clearly instructed me to teach what God meant in Hebrews 13:15 when He said, “Let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that confess His name.” I was prepared and confident that His hand was on me, when I came under the hands of three powerful prayer warriors. As they prayed over me, I had another extreme encounter with the Almighty. I again found myself in a ball on the floor, weeping and trembling as I completely emptied myself of ME to make room for more of HIM.

In that time, He made it abundantly clear that I was to tell my story of paralyzing fear that something tragic would happen to one of my boys. Someone was facing the same crisis of belief and needed to hear my victorious story. He also made it exceedingly apparent that I was to incorporate the Gospel message into my talk using various verses from 1 John 4.

Two hours later I left that prayer room completely spent, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I was absolutely dependent on Him and full of extraordinary passion, excessive energy and explosive JOY for the service I was about to offer the Bridegroom.

Needless to say, victorious words burst from my heart – words that set the captives FREE. Now, these women were ready to celebrate what God had done for them! It was a delight to watch as their complaining hearts were miraculously transformed by PRAISE. Even though we had technical difficulties, these women stood up with smiles on their beautiful faces and sheer joy in their hearts and began praising the King for Who He is and what He’s done for them.

Sunday morning, they were ready to come to the feet of Jesus and worship Him with all their adoring hearts. Cheryl, who by nature is quiet and gentle, led this session. Due to circumstances in her life, she came completely broken and was able to lead these women into the Lord’s presence where they dropped to their knees and washed His feet with their own tears. Oh how glorious it was to watch the Bridegroom perform a miracle at His wedding. It was like changing water to wine.

We concluded with an intense time of prayer for healing. Several women recommitted their lives to Christ. Everyone left different because they danced with their beloved Bridegroom. They came bitter and left better.

God has done great things for us and we are full of joy!

Glory, Hallelujah! What a privilege it was to serve at His special event.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Romans 6:13
Offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.

Lord of Life,
Thank You for raising me from the dead! Today, I’m celebrating the blessed gift of life by offering my entire body to You in worship.

Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet, and let them be swift and beautiful to Thee.

Take my voice, and let me sing always, only, for my King.
Take my lips, and let them be filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect, and use every power as Thou shalt choose.

Take my will, and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for Thee.

Please show me, Living Lord, any unsurrendered parts of my life so that I can quickly bring them to the altar as an offering of my heartfelt love and devotion. You deserve all glory, honor and praise! Use me, O Lord of Life, as an instrument to do what’s right for the glory of Your Living Name. Amen.

Today, I encourage you to offer yourself completely to God in worship because He brought you from death to life.

Take My Life and Let It Be, Frances Havergal, Copyright Ó Public Domain

Thursday, March 22, 2007

A Vision of His Glory

Romans 8: 18, 23-25
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

Lord of Life,
Thank you for this time of year when daylight exceeds darkness. I’ve been eagerly waiting for this season to spring forward. Spring gives me hope during the winter when it’s cold, dark and dead outside. Feeling depressed, troubled and weary, I anticipate glorious new life!

As I looked out my window today I noticed the bulbs that were dead all winter springing to life again through the soft, saturated soil. My heart fluttered with joy to think that in just a short time a pretty pallet of posies will peek in at me.

Like the flamboyant flowers, I too must die and decompose as I suffer through sin, sickness, and sorrow. Groaning inwardly, I waste away while patiently waiting through the frigid season of darkness. Still, silent and stiff, I look forward to the day when I will spring to life like a fresh vibrant bouquet that will never wilt or wither. Living eternally in Your glorious garden weeds won’t choke me, thorns won’t prick me and insects won’t devour me.

As it is written, no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what You have prepared for those who love You. Anticipating longer days full of warm, radiant sunshine, surrounded by mysterious new life, I can only imagine what You have in store for me! Life with You is the bright hope that sustains me through today’s trouble.

Thank You Lord, for a fresh vision of Your glory! I praise and worship You with love and adoration because of the new life that awaits me in Christ Jesus. Amen.

What are you eagerly waiting for and what are you doing while you wait?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Blessed Perseverance

James 5:10-11
Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

O Great and Powerful God, whose name is the Lord Almighty, great are Your purposes and mighty are Your deeds. Nothing is beyond Your control including Satan who ruthlessly and relentlessly torments me. You are fully aware of my distress and difficulties. My troubles do not surprise You. You are with me always, full of compassion and mercy.

Thank You for Your ancient words, long preserved for my walk in this world. All I have to do is look at Job as an example of patience in the face of pain. Rather than cursing and abandoning You, he depended and drew strength from You in his anguish. Please use my adversity to strengthen my faith. During difficult days I want to dig my roots deeper into You in order to withstand the storms.

I will not hide my overwhelming despair. My emotions will show that I am human. Mourning my loss, I will continue to worship You, Sovereign God, who has authority over everything. Like Job, I want to pass the test and prove that people can love You for who You are and not for what You give. Help me to find happiness and fulfillment in the One reality no one can take from me – Your great love for me.

Please dear Lord, make me a person of patience, faith, and endurance like Job. I long to pray continually and give thanks to You in all my circumstances, recognizing that difficulties are Your will for me in Christ Jesus through whom I live and pray. Amen.

If you are facing a strong adversary, I encourage you to read Job, chapters 1 and 2. Let him be an example of faith and endurance through the storms. Then, read Chapter 42, with hope.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

No Condemnation

Romans 8: 31-34
If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.

Revelation 1: 13-16
Among the lampstands was someone "like a son of man,"dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.”

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God Almighty!
You are so good to me! You graciously give me all things! Your promises are precious! They sustain me through suffering and seclusion, reminding me that You have not forsaken me.

Gazing on Your majesty, I see Jesus, the Son of Man who experienced indescribable suffering, unimaginable seclusion, and unbearable shame. He is beside You, dressed like a High Priest in a robe reaching down to His feet. He understands my pain and problems, and is pleading to You on my behalf.

The golden sash around His chest tells me He is a King who has full authority over everything that takes place in my life. His soft white hair reveals His wisdom and purity. He knows exactly what to allow into my life to make me holy, pure and blameless. Through my troubles, He is transforming me into His likeness.

With angry eyes blazing like fire, He is serious and will avenge anyone who tries to hurt me. His feet are like bronze glowing in a furnace, ready to trample in judgment anyone who condemns me. Justification and condemnation belong to Him and Him alone! He will not tolerate anyone else doing His job.

When He speaks, His thunderous voice roars like the sound of water rushing over Niagara Falls. It drowns out all other sounds. With my attention focused on the Living Word of God, I can’t hear those who criticize and convict me. I only hear His piercing voice pardoning me.

He holds me in His strong right hand like the seven stars. Nothing can snatch me from His mighty grip of grace. He holds on to me tightly even when I let go of Him.

The Commander-in-Chief of the Lords Army is in charge of me. He gives me the weapon I need to combat the enemy, the Sword of His Word. Swiftly taking it, I confidently march forward inflicting anyone who insults me.

Gazing on the radiant face of the Son of Man, I know that in my desolation and isolation He is overruling me. No one else can accuse or defend me. He alone is the Holy, Almighty Judge and NOTHING can separate me from His love.

Thank You Lord for Your priceless promise in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Who is accusing you, God or man? Whose authority are you under, God or man? Who is pleading your case, God or man? In whom will you place your trust, God or man?

Choose to believe God and you will be blessed!

Monday, March 19, 2007


Matthew 26:45-46
From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"—which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

God of Enduring Love,
Thank You that Jesus, Your dearly loved Son, willingly left the sacred sanctuary in the sky where He was enthroned in the praises of the saints to come down to this dark despicable place on earth to show us how to wholly love.

Knowing that He’d have to give up His life to save us from eternal anguish, He voluntarily endured the terrible atrocity of the cross. While the whole land was wrapped in an unearthly midday midnight, no human eye could gaze on His last agonizing hours as He descended into Hell for us. Suffering unbearable darkness, intolerable pain, and indescribable loneliness His plaintive cry was answered with impenetrable, imponderable silence. For three seemingly endless hours, Your innocent Son tasted the ultimate horror of a lost soul separated from Your love and goodness as Your full wrath violently thundered down on Him.

There on the cross, as He bore the divine punishment for every last sin that was ever committed or ever will be committed, You demonstrated Your amazing unconditional love. In the midst of unspeakable torture, You had us on Your mind and were showing us Your great big beautiful heart.

Oh my God! My God! Why have I forsaken You? Ashamedly, I admit I’ve turned my love away from You. I’ve dared to slap Your holiness in the face and abandoned You to glorify myself. I’ve stabbed You in the back by putting other things first in my life and in my heart. Rejecting You once, is horrific and worthy of eternal damnation, but I’m so boldly arrogant that I do it continually. Yet in this heart wrenching cry from the cross is the heart of my salvation. Because You were forsaken, I am forgiven in the blessed name of Jesus who endured it all for me. Amen.

Look at the Cross. Consider Jesus hanging there in unbearable darkness, intolerable pain and indescribable loneliness, completely separated from the goodness and love of God, His Father. Consider the crown of thorns pressed down on His brow. Consider the stakes driven through His hands and feet. Consider the beating He had already endured, ripping flesh from bone, so much so that He was virtually unrecognizable. Consider that He went to Hell for you. He did it all to prove His enduring love for you.

Admit all the ways you’ve rejected Him. Then, listen to His cry from the cross and thank Him that you are forever forgiven. Praise the Lord!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Relying on God's Love

1 John 4: 16-18
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

Lord of Love,
I come to You seeking mercy and grace. Forgive me for fearing man. Please drive out my fears in the name of Jesus, Your Son. Every day I worry about what others will think of me, say about me, and do to me. I'm concerned that they will kill my ambitions, hopes, and dreams. Frightened of man's condemnation, I live in constant apprehension. Paralyzed by fear, I'm tentative to open my mouth and speak for You. I'm sorry, Jesus.

Today, I'm claiming the truth! Your love drives out fear. You didn't give me a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of love, power and sound mind. With Your Spirit living in me, I have no reason to worry. You and You alone are the Ultimate Judge. In Your Supreme Court, I'm already declared innocent and spared eternal punishment. Thank You, Jesus.

Nothing anyone thinks, says or does can separate me from You. From this day forward, I'm choosing to focus on Your perfect love living in me. Relying on it, I will conquer my fears. Please dear Lord, quiet my heart and give me confidence to trust in Your perfect love for the glory of Your name. Amen.

Do you worry about what others will think of you, say about you, or do to you? Do you live apprehensively as a people-pleaser? Resolve your fears by focusing on God's endless love. Then, allow Him to love others through you.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Blessed Suffering

1 Peter 3:13-15
Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don't be afraid and don't worry. Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. NLT

Great God in Heaven,
I rejoice that Jesus is sitting right beside You at this very moment alive and well, talking to You on my behalf. He has the last word on everything and everyone. All the angels, authorities and powers submit to Him. Blessed assurance! So, if I know that He is in control of all things and all people, why do I worry and fret about what people will do to me?

With my eyes fixed on You, I’ll be richly blessed by:

Being affectionately sensitive and caring to all kinds of people
Living harmoniously with everyone
Encouraging others and rejoicing in their accomplishments
Sympathizing with the needs of the brokenhearted
Seeing and loving people as if they were my own brothers and sisters

People will see You in me when I refrain from retaliating against those who say unkind things about me. Rather than lashing out with malicious words of blame, my lips will glorify You by blessing those who seek to damage my reputation.

With my eyes staring straight at You, I’ll see the cross and the suffering You endured even though You were completely blameless. Remembering the great price You paid to restore my friendship with You will behoove me to react and respond mercifully to those who want to destroy my life. As long as I do what’s right, the shells being fired at me may sting, but they’ll be empty and harmless, embarrassing the enemy trying to annihilate me.

O Jesus, please set me apart as holy, ready to do what’s right in all situations and circumstances. With my heart at attention, in adoration and awe of Your extreme authority and power, my words and actions will honor You as Lord of my life and King of my heart, bringing glory to Your sacred name. Amen.

Who is trying to damage your reputation and destroy your life? Do you retaliate and seek revenge? It’s our human nature to want to fight back. However, your attitudes and actions show who you fear.

Rather, than fighting back with vicious words, go to God in prayer. Talk to him about your avenger. Relinquish control of the situation to Him. As you spend time in His Training Camp, Your Bible, He will begin to rule your thoughts and emotions, giving you the right strategy to fend off the stinging attacks. Surround yourself with an army of believers who can support you in the battle.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Choice Is Yours

Matthew 27: 16-26
At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas. So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, "Which one do you want me to release to you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?" For he knew it was out of envy that they had handed Jesus over to him.

While Pilate was sitting on the judge's seat, his wife sent him this message: "Don't have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him."

But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed.

"Which of the two do you want me to release to you?" asked the governor. "Barabbas," they answered.

"What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?" Pilate asked. They all answered, "Crucify him!"

"Why? What crime has he committed?" asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, "Crucify him!"

When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. "I am innocent of this man's blood," he said. "It is your responsibility!"

All the people answered, "Let his blood be on us and on our children!"

Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.

Dear Jesus,
You are King of heaven and earth, as well as, King of my heart. You absolutely rule over everything and everyone. Your proclaimed Word is sharper than the sharpest double-edged sword. It painfully cuts through my heart and mind revealing my most secret thoughts and desires. What it exposes is utterly disgraceful.

As I ponder this story I see my own ruthlessness in more ways than one. First, as an indecisive, insecure individual who asks, “What should I do with Jesus?” Though I consciously know right from wrong, I still seek public opinion in order to maintain my popularity and position in a corrupt society. Ignoring the advice of faithful friends who warn me of impending danger, I choose political-correctness over spiritual-truth. Then, vainly I wash my hands of the decision, blaming the outcome on others. Shame on me for being so spineless!

Second, I see myself as an insurgent in the crowd. On Sunday, I go to church with my comfortable Christian friends where You’re well-liked and accepted. I perform all the right religious rituals and routines, but when I walk out the doors and into the wicked world where You’re despised, I become an envious, indignant instigator robbing You of glory, honor and praise. In the face of an uprising, instead of speaking up for You, I speak out against You. Faced with a deadly decision, sadly, I too vote for the people’s choice, Barabbas. Lord, have mercy on me for being so unfaithful.

Remind me the next time I think I’m better than anyone that I can wash my hands all I want and claim my innocence, but in Your eyes I’m equally guilty. I vote you in or out of my life and must accept full responsibility for my choice. On Judgment Day there will be no excuse. I will have to give an account for what I did with You.

Holy Spirit, fill me with more of Your almighty power to stand up for what’s right in the face of adversity so that my life will praise and glorify Jesus, the One and Only True King. Amen.

You have to vote for someone. Under pressure will you choose Jesus or Barabbas?

Admit how much you’re like both Pilate and the crowd. Determine to turn around, look Jesus in the face, and speak up for Him the next time you’re confronted with a tough choice.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Matthew 26: 31, 33, 35

Then Jesus told them, "This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: " 'I will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.”

Peter replied, "Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will."

Peter declared, "Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you." And all the other disciples said the same.

Hours later the self-confident Peter disowns Jesus.

Dear Jesus,
I’m dreadfully like Peter! I too have spent many intimate moments with You. Over the years, I’ve sat, sipped and supped with You, enjoying the rich blessing of Your friendship. In the classroom of my heart, You taught me to be wise and tune my spirit to Your will. You gave me a thorough understanding of the ways in which You work. Deeply devoted to You, I couldn’t imagine life without You. You mean the world to me! How could I ever renounce You?

Yet, when faced with the challenge of ridicule and rejection, I’m prone to stand around and watch while politically-correct people insult, mock, and abuse You. Worried about my reputation, I’m unable to think clearly. If I stay at a distance, perhaps no one will notice my relationship with You. Pride tantalizes me, paralyzing my heart. What will the world think of me or do to me if I admit that I belong to You? Like Your flock of beloved disciples, I too run away, deserting You to save my name.

Confronted by angry, arrogant hate mongers, from the overflow of my anxious heart, my mouth speaks, and I vehemently deny knowing You. Lord, have mercy on me! I am deeply sorry for failing You as a disciple and friend.

Please give me the courage to stand up for You during threatening situations. Break down the stronghold pride has on my mind. Take my wandering thoughts captive and bring them back to You. With my mind under Your control, my heart will be protected. Instead of impulsively reacting to peer pressure, I’ll humbly think of You. Conscientiously, I’ll stand up proud to defend You, bringing glory and honor and praise to You, my lifelong teacher and friend. Amen.

Might we be guilty, like Peter, of trying to follow Christ, but with cowardice? Are you ashamed to be seen carrying a Bible? Ashamed to be seen giving thanks? Ashamed to be seen with other Christians? Have you denied Your Lord for fear of ridicule or rejection? If so, admit it with deep heartfelt sorrow, repent and determine to learn from your mistakes.

Christ can use those who recognize their failures. From this humiliating experience Peter learned much that would later help him when he assumed leadership of the church.

Stand Up, Stand Up For Jesus

Words: George Duffield, Jr., 1858.
Music: “Webb,” George James Webb, 1830

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross;
Lift high His royal banner, it must not suffer loss.
From victory unto victory His army shall He lead,
Till every foe is vanquished, and Christ is Lord indeed.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the solemn watchword hear;
If while ye sleep He suffers, away with shame and fear;
Where’er ye meet with evil, within you or without,
Charge for the God of battles, and put the foe to rout.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the trumpet call obey;
Forth to the mighty conflict, in this His glorious day.
Ye that are brave now serve Him against unnumbered foes;
Let courage rise with danger, and strength to strength oppose.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, stand in His strength alone;
The arm of flesh will fail you, ye dare not trust your own.
Put on the Gospel armor, each piece put on with prayer;
Where duty calls or danger, be never wanting there.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, each soldier to his post,
Close up the broken column, and shout through all the host:
Make good the loss so heavy, in those that still remain,
And prove to all around you that death itself is gain.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the strife will not be long;
This day the noise of battle, the next the victor’s song.
To those who vanquish evil a crown of life shall be;T
hey with the King of Glory shall reign eternally.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Lost Sheep

Zechariah 10:2
The idols speak deceit,
diviners see visions that lie;
they tell dreams that are false,
they give comfort in vain.
Therefore the people wander like sheep
oppressed for lack of a shepherd.

Glorious, Ever-living, Creator,
You are highly exalted! No other gods can give us greater gifts. The gifts You give cost more than we could ever pay. You are able to do just as You please. You give us puffy clouds and warm sunshine; pouring rain and howling winds; blue skies and majestic mountains; rolling seas and roaring thunder; fruitful plains and dry deserts; fragrant flowers and gentle breezes.

Instead of graciously accepting these pricey gifts, we foolishly toss them aside without unwrapping them, like spoiled, unappreciative children. Instead of longing for more of You, we wish for store-bought baubles made of silver and gold. Rather than seeking Your perfectly wise counsel, we seek the fabricated advice of fortune-tellers who offer us false dreams and little consolation. We are wandering like lost sheep without a shepherd, vulnerable to deadly attacks.

Forgive us, O Lord, for senselessly trading Your eternal treasures for temporary trash. God of Angels, step in and take care of Your flock! Remove the idols that we’ve allowed to clutter the temple of our hearts. Replace the barefaced lies with Absolute Truth. It’s time for a good housecleaning. Purify our hearts, sanctify our souls, and breathe new life into us.

Open our eyes to see and appreciate the exquisite beauty of creation. Open our ears to accurately hear the reality of Your rich promises. Open our hearts to always believe You. Focused on You, we’ll be a firm foundation for Your beautiful church by worshipping You above all the deceptive and unpredictable pleasures this world has to offer.

You are worthy O Lord to receive glory and honor and power, because You created all things, and by Your will they were created and have their being. Amen.

What have you exalted above the Creator in your life? Are you willing to give it up for Him? The consequences of clinging to your idols are severe. I encourage you to read Romans 1:18-32, and take time before Easter to do an internal housecleaning.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Set Free

Psalm 116:3-6
The cords of death entangled me,
the anguish of the grave came upon me;
I was overcome by trouble and sorrow.
Then I called on the name of the LORD :
"O LORD, save me!"
The LORD is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.
The LORD protects the simplehearted;
when I was in great need, he saved me.

Lord of Life,
I praise and worship You with heartfelt devotion! Your works are wonderful! I will sing of Your love forever.

The cords of death entangled me. Intertwined in a web of confusion, trouble trapped me and sorrow seized me. Unable to escape Satan’s snare, choked by his charm and strangled his shams, I was caught in his lies and left to die.

In fearful desperation, I cried out to You, “O Lord, Save me!” In Your loving kindness, You came to my rescue and saved my life. I didn’t deserve to be released, but because You are gracious You set me free. Unwrapped from the cords that entangled me, I’m free to stand up right and tell others the wonders of Your love.

Lord, I will extol You with all my heart, mind, soul and strength because You have done great things for me! Joyfully, I’ll offer You a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving because You cared enough to save me from Satan’s snare, brought me safely into Your home, and washed away all my fears with the crimson blood of Your Dear Son through whom I live and work and have my being. To Him who is seated on the throne of heaven, and to the Lamb, be glory and honor and praise forever and ever! Amen.

Will you worship God with all your heart this weekend for His wonderful work of salvation?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Journey to the Cross

Luke 9: 51
As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.

Name above all names, beautiful Savior, glorious Lord. I am awe of You and Your journey to greatness. I am deeply humbled and terribly convicted. You knew what was waiting for you in Jerusalem: betrayal, rejection, suffering and ultimately death on the cross; yet you set your face resolutely on the challenge and conquered it. Despite the anticipation and expectation of excruciating pain and suffering you quietly moved forward like an innocent little Lamb going to the slaughter, determined to become obedient to death to bring many children to glory.

Forgive me for avoiding the difficult journey. Forgive me for all the detours I take in order to avoid betrayal, rejection, suffering and even death to self. Help me dear Lord, to choose the highway of humility. The voyage is excruciatingly painful but the destination is sweet. The journey is long – life long. I grow tired and weary from exerting my own energy. By Your grace and power, I will deny myself daily and take up my cross and follow you with steadfast determination to reach the goal for which you have called me. Let this mind be in me that was also in Christ Jesus ... that mind which focused on the glorious final destination in the New Jerusalem. Amen.

What detour have you taken to avoid the difficult journey to the Cross? Admit you’ve been looking for Easy Street. Then, turn around and determine to follow Him, no matter how painful.

Jesus said, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." Luke 9:23

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Healed By His Stripes

1 Peter 2: 21-24
21To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 22"He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth."
23When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.

Jesus, Lamb of God,
Thank You for revealing the truth of my sin and my despicable, depraved condition that led You to the cross. Because You suffered for me, I’m called to suffer for You. It’s the debt of love. Clothed in Your love and filled with Your power when others:

Strip and offend me, exposing my shame, I won’t retaliate
Twist the truth and prick my mind with thorns, I won’t be deceived
Mock and make fun of me for my faith, I’ll stand firm and steadfast
Spew filth from their mouth that insults me, I won’t spit back
Beat and hurt me, I won’t seek revenge

Instead, I’ll follow Your example and trust You, the One and Only Fair Judge who rules over all authority in heaven and earth. Like You, I want to love my neighbor and pray for those who hate me.

Thank You for personally carrying the wounds of my sins and the filth of my spit on Your body to the cross so that I could die to sin and live for what is right. For that reason, I humbly bow at the foot of the cross today, allowing the Living Water from the wound in Your side to purify the sewer deep within me and the blood from Your wounds to drip down and cover every mistake I’ve ever made and ever will make. By Your wounds I am healed and by Your grace, I’m able to follow Your example, exercising self-control on my own journey to the cross for the glory of Your name. Amen.

The death was for us. He can heal us – even the most broken of us. He can meticulously pick up all the shattered pieces of our lives and put them back together. He can change us – even the worst of us. He can open the gates of heaven and give us a glimpse of eternity so that, by faith, we’ll walk steadfastly toward whatever lies ahead. And, He will. He will if we humble ourselves at the foot of the cross. Have you? Have you turned to the One who can heal and restore you?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Depravity of Man

Matthew 27:27-31
27Then the governor's soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. 28They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. "Hail, king of the Jews!" they said. 30They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. 31After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

Dear Jesus,
These verses send chills down my spine and bring tears to my eyes. How could they do this to You, the tender, gentle and innocent Lamb of God? You’ve never done anything wrong! Sadly, the atrocious behavior I see in the Roman soldiers is true of me too. Running deep within my soul is a cesspool seeping with foulness, ugliness and self-righteousness.

I strip You by committing sins that embarrass people, exposing their shame. Judging, gossiping, and insulting others strips both You and them of dignity. Full of pride, I can’t see my own flaws and failures. Lying and blaming someone else is disgraceful. Cynicism and sarcasm is humiliating.

Sins that prick my mind are the thorns the pierced Your sacred brow. Worry, unbelief, and anxiety stab You. Movies, music, television and magazines used for my entertainment jab You. Greed, envy, and bitterness poke You. The truth can be so easily twisted into a crown of prickly thorns.

I mock You when I’m hypocritical and deceitful. Failing to spend time with You praying and reading my Bible is a form of scoffing. Taking Your name in vain is a means of jeering. All the pleasures and treasures I worship more than You are a type of sneering.

Spit is the filth that spews from my heart out of my mouth. The hateful, profane words I speak to others, I spit on You. You are splattered with the disgusting saliva of my arrogance, complaining and ungratefulness.

Sin that hurts others beats You. Lifting my hand in anger, I’ve not only slapped the offender, but also You. Lusting or flirting with someone other my spouse is not only a blow to him/her but also a blow to You. You’re beaten by my critical spirit and unforgiving heart. You’re battered by my emotional, physical and spiritual adultery.

Lamb of God, I’m deeply sorry for standing with the Roman soldiers who scorned You, derided You, and ridiculed You. I can’t believe I was there subjecting You to the cruelest degradation. There is a beast within me capable of the meanest, roughest words and actions. Thank You for personally carrying the wounds of my sins and the filth of my spit on Your sacred body all the way to the cross.

I can’t bear to think of the pain I’ve caused You and still do every minute of every day. Please forgive me and tame the beast within me by Your almighty power. Amen.

All of us are capable of the cruelest, meanest acts. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40)

Reflect on your depravity and admit that you’re a sinner in need of God’s grace.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Wayward Sheep

Isaiah 53:6
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.

Darling Lamb of God,
You’ve carefully led us through Heaven’s Gate to the flourishing meadow of rich, luscious life where the Son always shines warmly. Your gated community is a safe, secure haven where we can chew heartily on Your Word in the lush pasture of love and drink from the pure stream of Living Water. Living within Your limits, You faithfully take care of all our needs. There is no place on earth as calm and quiet.

Yet, we all like sheep, have gone astray at one time or another. Disgruntled with our lot in life, we’ve deliberately chosen to wander off in search of greener pastures. Beyond our safe boundaries, we live dangerously, making unwise and ungodly choices that damage Your sacred reputation. We take many wrong turns and end up in precarious situations. Lost and lonely, we’re easy prey for wicked people hungry to devour our sweet hearts. Craving attention, we naively eat their poisonous lies and die.

Rather than letting us perish in the grave, You lovingly look for us buried beneath the rubble of our wrecked lives. Voluntarily, You give Your life to save us. Though we’ve blatantly chosen to go our own way and do our own thing, You painstakingly, carry the deep gashes from our treacherous decisions on Your ripped, torn and crushed body folly accepting the blame for every wrong move we’ve ever made.

How can we ever thank You for giving Your life to safely bring us back into the sheepfold where we can heal and once again enjoy the peace and protection of Your prosperous presence because of Jesus, the Darling Lamb of God who was slain. Hallelujah! Amen.

Consider how far you have strayed from the sheepfold of God and the awful trouble you’ve gotten yourself into. Then consider the wonder of the Darling Lamb of God who came to save you by taking on all of your iniquities. What does this mean to you? How will you respond?

Friday, March 02, 2007

Heavenly Gate

John 10:9
Jesus said, “I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures.”

Jesus, Lamb of God,

You are the Heavenly Gate! I exalt You and thank You for swinging wide the door of righteousness so that everyone who believes in You can come to the Father. Thank You for laying down Your life to make an opening for me to access my home in heaven. You are good and Your love endures forever! I sing for joy because You have done great things for me. You have led me from the broad road leading to ruin through the narrow Gate of Life.

Within the walls of Your gated community, there is safety, security, and shelter. Thank You, Father for saving me and sending me to Your kingdom where there is fullness of life. In the presence of Your majesty, I can graze on Your glorious grace day and night. Living within Your limits, my life overflows with mercy and love. There is no place in heaven or earth as peaceful.

Thank You for leading me through the Heavenly Gate to a prosperous place full of rich, luscious life where the Son always shines brightly. I celebrate glad tidings of great joy because I have found You, the One Way to everlasting happiness. Today, I’ll eagerly exclaim, “Look, here’s the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” so that those on the broad road to ruin around me will hear and be led through the Gate of Righteousness to the lush green pasture of Your eternal love. Amen.

Thank God that the Gate of Heaven has been open to you! Share the joy of your discovery with someone traveling the road to ruin.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Lamb of God

John 1:29
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

Jesus, Lamb of God worthy is Your Name! All power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise belong to You, the precious Lamb who was slain!

Your limitless love is too much for my meager mind to grasp! Globally, it has no boundaries. It extends beyond the barriers of my selfish little sphere to the entire world. Broader than my partialities and preferences, it’s inevitably predestined for ALL people. No one - no, not one - is worthy of Your Holy Love. From the purist to the vilest, we stand equally condemned in Your most high and holy supreme court, utterly insufficient and speechless.

Shamefully destitute, our only recourse is to come to the foot of the cross where You, the unblemished Lamb of God, took on the imperfections and blame of the entire world, dying for the benefit of all mankind. Falling on our absolutely wretched faces, all we can do is cry out, thanking You for Your boundless mercy and unending grace freely offered to all who voluntarily come. Admitting our deficiencies, we reach out to You in sheer desolation, allowing Your precious blood to wash away our misery, guilt and disgrace making us at-one with You.

At-one with You, our consciences will be thoroughly clean and our hearts will be miraculously healed. Free from death and despair, we’ll able to live a radical life of love serving others for You. We will be Your instruments of peace. Enthusiastically and unashamedly, we’ll see You and shout, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” People all around us will stop, look and fall on their faces, crying “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lamb of God who was slain.”

To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.

What can we say to such magnanimous love? We are acceptable to God not because of our obedience, but because of the death of Christ. He came for no other reason than to take away the sins of the world. How will you respond to Him?