Monday, March 31, 2008

A Vision of Glory

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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?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Mandatory Mission

Matthew 28: 16-20
Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Lord of the Universe,
I ascend the Most High and Holy Mountain to the Pinnacle of Your Presence. Bowing down in awe of Your majesty, I worship and adore You in the beauty of holiness. You are the One and Only True and Living God. Raised from the dead, You are Ruler of heaven and earth! All authority belongs to You! Your power is vast and victorious. I never want to doubt that “My God Reigns!”

You are the King supremely seated on the throne of my heart. I submit my whole life to Your final costly command. Clearly, Your parting Words commission me to GO to every community in every country telling people of every culture to repent and believe in You for the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Proclaiming the Good News, I’ll persuade people everywhere to pursue You. Practicing extravagant love, I’ll teach them by example to obey You.

Please fill me with Holy Spirit power to GO with brave boldness. Open my eyes to see all the sick, sad souls surrounding me. Open my ears to hear the sound of people marching to hell. Give me a sensitive spirit to stop and share the Only Way to eternal life. It’s not optional. It’s a mandatory mission from the One I call King, Lord and Master. To disobey would be disrespectful insubordination!

I claim the powerful promise that accompanies this great commission. You pledge to be with me all the days of my life. You will never ever leave me! Since I can’t fathom the thought of anyone spending eternity with Satan, I’ll courageously and confidently conquer my fears and GO as You command. One day every tongue will confess You are God, one day every knee will bow to the glory of Your Most High and Holy Name. I exalt You, O Lord, above the heavens. Let Your glory be over all the earth! Alleluia! Amen.

Do you believe the One who rules the universe? Do you acknowledge Him as your King, Lord, and Master? If so, you’ve been given a mandatory mission to spread the Good News: Our God Reigns! It’s as easy as ABC.

A = Admit you are a sinner
B = Believe Jesus died for your sins
C = Commit your life to Him

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Feed My Sheep

John 21:15-19
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?"
"Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."

Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me?"
He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep."

The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?"
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?"
He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you."

Jesus said, "Feed my sheep. I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, "Follow me!"

King of Glory!
I adore You because You are a God of second chances! Even when I fail You miserably, You redeem me, like You did Peter. O how I praise You for teaching me exactly how to test my faith.

First, I should ask myself, “Do I love You more than anyone else in my life? More than my family and friends? More than my church and my pastor? More than anyone?” I’ll show You that I love You above everyone else in my life when I take time to sit down and teach little children and new believers the stories and simple truth of the Bible.

Then, I should ask myself, “Do I love You more than anything else? More than my position, power, possessions, portfolio, plans, and pastimes?” You will know that I truly love You when I immediately put everything on hold to take care of Your sheep – those believers who have wandered from the flock and are lost, those who are entangled in the brambles of problems, pain and pressures, sickness, sorrow, and shame.

Next, I should ask, “Do I like You more than myself? More than my beauty and body, security and comfort? Am I willing to risk my life and reputation for You? Are You even my Friend?” Pondering these things makes me squirm, like Peter. Of course, Lord, You know all things and You know that I love You as much as I’m capable of loving You! I’ll demonstrate my love when I feed the starving sheep around me, mature believers, the Bread of Life, Your Word. Gladly, I’ll open my heart and home so that we can graze and grow together.

Finally, You extend to me the biggest challenge of all! Am I willing to endure the cross of submissive obedience to do Your will, even if it means suffering and hardship, and things I don’t feel like doing? O Lord, with all of my heart, I desire to seek Your will, Your Way, Your Word and Your wisdom so that I can claim the crown of victory for the glory of Your name!

Thank You, O God for teaching me these things! Now, empower me by the Holy Spirit to put my faith into practice so that in my life, Lord, You’ll be exalted and glorified. Amen.

Jesus was instructing Peter how to guard against neglect. He was saying, in essence, “I want you to forget about your failures and how far you drifted from me. You’ve come back to me now. I’ve forgiven, forgotten and fixed you. So, it’s time to get your focus off your doubts, fears, failures, and problems. And the way to do that is to minister to the needs of my people. As my Father sent me, I’m sending you.”

Is there a new believer or child in your life? Take time, sit down and talk to them about Jesus. Tell them the stories and simple truth.

Identify one hurting believer in your flock and tend to their needs immediately.

Spend time fellowshipping with other believers, but don’t just go for the grub, share what He’s given you.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

It is the Lord

John 21: 1- 7, 12
Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Tiberias. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. "I'm going out to fish," Simon Peter told them, and they said, "We'll go with you." So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
He called out to them, "Friends, haven't you any fish?"
"No," they answered.

He said, "Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some." When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!"

None of the disciples dared ask him, "Who are you?" They knew it was the Lord.

Jesus, You are the Lord, the great I AM, who is always with me. On bright days, Your presence warms my heart. On deep, dark days filled with discouragement and disappointment You are just as present. On days of despair when all hope is gone and the net of my heart is empty, my vision is distorted by tear soaked eyes. I can’t recognize You standing right in front of me. I can’t hear Your voice. Are You there?

Please open my eyes to see while others just stand still staring. Open my mind to perceive while others parade around pondering. Many will watch, but I want to see, hear, and believe. Give me crystal clear vision to recognize You! I long to know You more dearly so that I can see You more clearly. When You affectionately call me I want to know Your voice. Unclog my ears so that I’ll hear You say, “Friend, haven’t you any hope?” Then I need faith to follow Your simple command to toss the empty net of my heart into the sea of blessings. You will fill it beyond my wildest imagination and exceed my immediate need! I’ll jubilantly shout, “It is the Lord!” and others will notice You because of my faith.

Please dear Lord, take my desperate dilemma and turn it into innumerous blessings for Your glorious name. Give me eyes to see, ears to hear, and faith to believe. Amen.

What is your hopeless situation? Do you see the Lord standing in front of you? He’s there if you look beyond the tears. He’s calling, “Friend, haven’t you any hope?” Tell him today that you want to know Him more dearly so that you can clearly see Him, hear Him, and believe Him when your heart is empty.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Walking and Talking

Luke 24: 13-16, 28-32
That same day two of them were walking to the village Emmaus, about seven miles out of Jerusalem. They were deep in conversation, going over all these things that had happened. In the middle of their talk and questions, Jesus came up and walked along with them. But they were not able to recognize who he was.

They came to the edge of the village where they were headed. He acted as if he were going on but they pressed him: "Stay and have supper with us. It's nearly evening; the day is done." So he went in with them. And here is what happened: He sat down at the table with them. Taking the bread, he blessed and broke and gave it to them. At that moment, open-eyed, wide-eyed, they recognized him. And then he disappeared.

Back and forth they talked. "Didn't we feel on fire as he conversed with us on the road, as he opened up the Scriptures for us?"MSG

O how wonderful you are! You walk with me and talk with me every day. How often do I fail to recognize You in my circumstances? Heartbroken and feeling abandoned tears flow down my face as I discuss my situation with friends. I must look ridiculous when I am wallowing in self-pity while You are right beside me! Open the eyes of my heart Lord, so that I can vividly see You in my midst.

Please dear Lord, when I am down in the dumps and crying the blues give me Your lantern and compass. Give me Your map. Help me to find the way to the sacred mountain, to Your presence. There, I will enter the place of worship and SEE my exuberant and magnificent God right in the middle of my hopeless situation! I will gaze into Your eyes and praise Your holy name. You will turn my frown into a smile.

Every day You talk to me like a friend through prayer and Bible study. You set my heart on fire. There’s nothing more thrilling than Your voice. It stirs up warmth in the hollow of my heart. Help me to BELIEVE You when You speak to me. Help me to live in absolute expectancy, trusting You to do what You say You will do. Lord, You have captivated my heart! Please ignite others with the flame of this Holy Spirit wild fire burning within me. I want more than the blessing of my daily bread! I want ALL of YOU, JESUS! Amen.

Do you see Jesus in the middle of your hopeless situation?

Monday, March 24, 2008

A Blessing of Peace

John 20: 19-22
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!"

After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit.”

Prince of Peace,
It’s comforting to know that no door can shut out Your presence. There is no lock strong enough to keep You out! Blessed assurance! I cherish the moment when You came, stood in the living room of my heart and spoke a blessing of peace to me.

What a joy it was to see Your mighty nail-pierced hand and feel the warmth of Your amazing love. It’s the hand that was hammered to the cross to blot out my blemishes, erase my errors and fix my flaws. It’s the hand that forever changed me and gave me new life. There is precious peace in Your pardon.

I rejoice at the sight of the spear-torn flesh in Your side. From it spewed the innocent blood that made me holy, pure, and blameless in Your sight. A fountain of water flowed from Your wound to heal me of mine. Because of Your torn flesh, nothing can separate me from You – no grief, no fault, no fear. There is peace in Your presence.

Finally, You breathed on me and filled me with Your Spirit. You empowered me to go persuade people to drop their differences and pursue friendship with You. I am required to confidently and courageously tell the life-changing story of my extreme encounter with my crucified Lord. There is peace in Your power.

Please dear Lord, come, stand in the living room of my heart today. Breathe a fresh blessing of peace on me. Renew the Holy Spirit power with in me and remind me of my mandatory mission. Then, I will go speak a blessing of peace to others for the praise of Your glorious kingdom. Amen.

Have you seen the nail-pierced hand and spear-torn flesh of Jesus? If so, go tell others the difference it made in Your life. It’s not optional.

Friday, March 21, 2008

He's Alive

Matthew 28:1-10
Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to see the tomb. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, because an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and rolled aside the stone and sat on it. His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint.

Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He has been raised from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come; see where his body was lying. And now, go quickly and tell his disciples he has been raised from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember, I have told you.”

The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to find the disciples to give them the angel’s message. And as they went, Jesus met them. “Greetings!” he said. And they ran to him, held his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.” NLT

God of Hope,
My Living Lord,
I feel the fear and joy of the women who were at the tomb that glorious Sunday morning when You arose from the grave giving them the amazing gift of the resurrection – eternal life.

After Saturday mourning, these faithful followers awoke earlier than usual. The sun’s rays were just beginning to illuminate the new week when they somberly and silently went to sit by the sepulcher. O how I wonder what I miss when I don’t seek You early in the morning. Undoubtedly, these women didn’t expect the excitement that was about to unfold!

In the shadow of sorrow and sadness, the earth suddenly shook ferociously. A brilliant array of brightness bolted like lightening through the dark morning sky, jolting them from their feet. An angel, dressed in a glistening garment surrounded by the radiance of Your glory swiftly moved the huge stone aside and sat on it. He calmed their fears and proclaimed the Good News! You most certainly were alive.

The empty tomb guarantees it.
The angel assures it.
The women witnessed it.

As You promised, all my sins were buried in that tomb with You. My old way of life was gone forever, forgiven and forgotten in a cold, dark, empty grave. As You arose, so did I to a bountiful, beautiful new life. Hallelujah!

Because You live, I can face tomorrow.
Because You live all fear is gone!
Because I know You hold the future
And life is worth the living just because You live.

Fill me dear Lord with the same reverent fear and exuberant joy You gave these dear women. Exploding with excitement, I will go tell the Good News to all those around me! “Jesus is alive! A miracle has happened before my eyes. I have seen His shining glory, heard His gentle voice, and will never be the same again. Come and see!”

Holy Spirit, open the ears of those near me to hear this Good News. May someone receive the generous gift of life today because they have seen You resurrected in me. Glory to God in the highest. Amen.

O how I wonder what we miss when we don’t seek to worship Him early in the morning. Undoubtedly, we miss many exciting encounters with the Lord! I challenge you to get up early tomorrow morning, while it’s still dark outside, and go to the grave. Seek Him! There you’ll find an empty tomb and abundant new life! Go quickly! Worship Him!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

God's Sovereignty

Matthew 27:62-66
The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. "Sir," they said, "we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, 'After three days I will rise again.' So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first."

"Take a guard," Pilate answered. "Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how." So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.

Sovereign God,
I stand in awe of Your majesty, glory and supremacy. As the Most High Ruler of the universe, all authority submits to You – all the powers of heaven and all the peoples of earth. No one can interrupt Your mighty work. Thank You for the excellent illustration of Your vast sovereignty and divine providence on that holiest of holy days so many years ago.

While the women were weeping, waiting and watching, and the terrorized disciples defected in utter despair, this hostile odd combination of religious leaders were collaborating to eliminate the movement of Jesus’ body. In fact, they had so much contempt for Your Son that they violated their scruples and marched right into the Praetorium to see Pilate. Instead of having their Passover devotions, they were dealing with the defiled Gentile government about securing the tomb.

Pilate, who was scornful and indifferent, had previously washed his hands of the verdict. Having enough of the whole ordeal, he quickly bought into their grand plan. Playing into Your hand, these hateful people were doing exactly what You predestined them to do in order to accomplish Your eternal purpose.

With the eyes of my heart open, I see how You brilliantly orchestrated this whole scene to fulfill the prophesy that Your Son would spend three days in a wealthy man’s grave. You marvelously put in place the whole lot of pagans with their loathsome agenda to make sure that there was no way possible for the disciples to steal His body. The only explanation for the absence of it would be the resurrection.

Thank You, God, for revealing to me how You work ALL things for the praise of Your glory, according to Your intended plan. These arrogant fools thought they dealt wisely, but You outwitted them by using their strategy to rise up victorious and promote the splendor of Your everlasting dominion. Hallelujah! Amen.

Whatever happens in your life, whatever you can’t understand, whatever you struggle with, whatever doesn’t make sense, whatever trials you’re facing, God’s at work, fitting the pieces of the puzzle together to work out His predetermined plan and perfect will for your life. It’s for His glory and your good. The same God who was in control of every aspect of Jesus’ death and resurrection is in control of your life too. He hasn’t ever abandoned His throne or relinquished His authority. Do you believe He providentially and miraculously controls all things?

In sudden death and despair God works for the good of those who love Him.
In cancer and catastrophes God works for the good of those who love Him.
In flops and failures God works for the good of those who love Him.
In accidents and hospital stays God works for the good of those who love Him.
In unemployment and financial disaster God works for the good of those who love Him.
In felonies and imprisonment God works for the good of those who love Him.
In trials and temptations God works for the good of those who love Him.
In divorce papers and broken families God works for the good of those who love Him.
In addictions and abortions God works for the good of those who love Him.
In infertility and injury God works for the good of those who love Him.

His Word says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Testimony of the Centurion

Matthew 27:54
When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, "Surely he was the Son of God!"

Surely You are the Son of God! Thank You for the wonders and signs of the Cross that crushed the Roman centurion’s immovable heart of stone and caused him to tremble.

On an ordinary day, there was nothing unusual or upsetting about his assignment. He had overseen executions many times before. Unconcerned with the merits of the case, he was only worried about watching and controlling the unruly mob that morning when the whole land was suddenly wrapped in an unnatural midday midnight.

Unable to see anything, he could only hear the voices of the angry bewildered masses, along with the agonizing cries from the accused. But from You, instead of cursing, he heard words that were peculiarly kind and considerate, as You miraculously focused on the needs of others during Your final horrific hours. You took the suffering that was inflicted on You calmly and quietly, baffling him.

After three frightening hours of midday darkness, the earth unexpectedly and violently quaked with a thunderous roar, shaking the very depths of his sin-scorched soul. He watched while the curtain of the temple was aggressively torn in two, the door to heaven was flung wide open, and cadavers mysteriously arose from their tombs. Woe!

The centurion and those with him certainly noticed something drastically different about Your execution. Something significant and magnificent had happened. Shocked by the wonders he had witnessed, he realized that You were no ordinary man and he was full of terror, awe, alarm, and reverence. Convinced in His heart that You were innocent, He opened His mouth and confessed, “Surely, He was the Son of God.”

The lesson in it for me is to not become so complacent with my service that I don’t notice who I’m serving. Please give me a desire to know You more passionately, personally and powerfully. Open the eyes of my heart to see You for Who You are: The Son of God. Trembling with fear, awe, alarm and reverence, I will fall down, open my mouth and worship You, praising and glorifying Your Holy Name. Amen.

Have you come to the place where you have a deep heartfelt respect and reverence for Jesus Christ? Do you realize that this One who died on Calvary did so for YOU? Has this filled you with awe? Has this fact alarmed you?

The centurion moved from being complacent through becoming concerned to become committed. This is the process that you must pass through on your journey to faith in Jesus Christ. You may have heard much about Him, but don’t really KNOW Him. As you witness the wonders and signs of the cross, you too may become concerned about entering the gates of heaven. Don’t stop short – put your faith in the One who endured all this for YOU. Will you commit your entire life to Him?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

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.”

Monday, March 17, 2008


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.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Healed by His Stripes

1 Peter 2: 21-24
To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth."
When 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. He 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?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Depravity of Man

Matthew 27:27-31
Then the governor's soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and 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. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After 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.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

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 11, 2008


Matthew 27:45-46
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!

Monday, March 10, 2008


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;
They with the King of Glory shall reign eternally.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Godly Instruction

Titus 2:12-13
For the grace of God teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

God of Grace,
You are a most excellent Teacher. If only I’d stop, sit still and listen, You’d lead me by Your truth and teach me for You are the God who saved me! School me in Your ways so that I’ll turn my back on godless, indulgent living. Take my hand and show me how to take on a God-filled, God-honoring life while I wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of the Immortal, Invincible, Incorruptible, Almighty King.

Surely You desire for me to be grounded in the truth of the Bible. Help me to carefully study, prayerfully consider, and aptly apply great wisdom so that I won’t be swayed by the smooth rhetoric of false teachers. Expand my knowledge so that I won’t be deceived devastating circumstances. Show me how to think clearly when emotions are tugging on the strings of my heart.

In this pagan and hostile world, instruct me to do Your will. By Your good Spirit, lead me on level ground. Following You, I’ll exercise good judgment and carefully control my desires, tongue, and passions. Under Your divine discipline I’ll willingly do whatever is good and right in all situations, no matter how difficult. You’ll train me to be peaceable, considerate and humble toward everyone. My lips overflow with praise because You are the One who teaches me to be excellent and productive.

God of Grace, You have been so kind and loving toward me. By Your matchless mercy, You generously gave me a rich new life along with a hefty inheritance. Because You are faithful and true, I eagerly expect that some day soon, You will appear in all Your glory, sweep me off my feet, and carry me away to live with You forever and ever because of Jesus. Amen

Are you struggling with saying “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions? If so, ask the God of grace to teach you. He desires nothing more than for you to be grounded in the truth. Then, open your Bible and carefully study it. Prayerfully consider the Scriptures you’ve read, and aptly apply them.

Practice godly living while you wait for the glorious appearance of the King. “Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:22.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Gettin' Ready

2 Peter 3: 10-12
The day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.
Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.

Most High and Holy Judge,
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne. Unfailing love and truth walk before You as attendants while You patiently wait for people to admit their mistakes and change their ways so that no one will be permanently destroyed.

But You will not be silent forever. Someday, and possibly quite soon, a raging fire will consume everything in Your way until the whole earth is exposed. From where the sun rises to where it sets You will summon all humanity for judgment. Please help me to:

Be holy by spending time with You each day in intimate friendship, reading Your Word, praying and making friends with other believers. I want to know and recognize You.

Be godly by demonstrating love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. I want You to know me and recognize me by my Christ-like characteristics.

Be watching by remaining alert and paying attention so that I won’t be surprised or alarmed when You show up.

Make every effort to be spotless, pure and at peace with everyone.

Be on guard so that I won’t be misled by false teachers with a feel good message that twists the truth and justifies inappropriate activities.

Keep growing deeper in my understanding of You and Your amazing kindness.

Since everything here today will be gone tomorrow, it is essential that I live my life for You. I joyfully anticipate my new home in heaven where I’ll live happily ever after with You, my Lord and King. Thank You for warning me of what’s to come and telling me precisely how to prepare! I praise You for Your wonderful Words! Amen.

God clearly tells us that He will come at an unexpected time. Do You believe Him? Are you ready if He comes tonight? How will you prepare to meet Him? Will you recognize Him? Will He recognize You?

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Clean Heart Living

Psalm 119:9-11
How can a young man keep his way pure?
By living according to your word.

I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.

I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.

Blessed Writer of the Word,
O how I cherish the wisdom recorded in Your Holy Scriptures. It teaches me about Your holy character and divine nature. An amazing documentary on love, it tells the dramatic story of my rescue from death and destruction. It reveals that You chose and adopted into Your holy family. I must; therefore, learn to love You and live like a divine child.

It is essential that I open the Book of Life, my Bible, and read it fervently. It will teach me precisely how to live with integrity in a relativistic society that doesn’t take You seriously. The more time I spend studying and applying Your rules for righteous living, the more I’ll become like You. Gradually, my heart will become more sincere and my mind unadulterated.

Out of deep heartfelt devotion, I’ll passionately pursue You. Spending intense time alone with You, my heart will synchronize with Yours. Pleasing You will be my only ambition. Rather than tirelessly trying to make people happy, I’ll spend my energy respecting and praising You in everything I say and do.

Daily digging into the sacred Treasure Chest of Your Word, I’ll uncover Your costly commands and precious promises. Gingerly picking each one up, I’ll methodically study them. Memorizing their fine details, I’ll recognize their great worth during conflict and crisis. Tucked securely in the pocket of my heart, they’ll prevent me from offending You.

O blessed Writer of the Word, thank You for imparting me with wisdom to do Your will, Your way for the glory and honor of Your holy name. Amen.

How can you practice clean-heart living? The Bible says it’s easy as 1-2-3 …
1) Live according to God’s Word.
2) Seek Him with all your heart and obey His commands.
3) Hide His Word in Your heart so that you won’t offend Him.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Draw Near to God

Hebrews 10:22
Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.

Most High God! You are the exalted One who lives forever. Perfect, pure and pristine, Your home is a high and lofty place. Even the most ornate palaces on earth pale in comparison. No one, including the most prominent and powerful people, has enough credentials to enter through Your gates, come into Your courts, or approach Your throne.

Your Word makes it clear that the only way to come close to You is with a sincere heart. You already know the truth. You see our earthly mansions for what they are: temporary dwellings full of worthless idols. We can’t hide the blood on our hands from the spirits we’ve wounded as we’ve prayerlessly pursued positions for personal gain. No amount of sweetness can conceal the stench of our addictions, attractions, and afflictions.

Yet, You invite us to come into Your Most Holy Place through the curtain that is the body of Christ. When we humbly admit that we are filthy from the places we’ve been and the things we’ve done, we can absolutely expect You to sprinkle our hearts and cleanse our guilty consciences with the beautiful blood from Your broken body. The pure water from Your wounded side will surely gush over us, making us whiter than snow. What a relief it is to come near to You with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith.

Fully forgiven and free, we’ll have the strength to walk away from our obsession with prosperity and power. Led by Your Spirit, we’ll desire nothing more than to enter into the Most Holy Place of the Invincible, Immortal, Incorruptible Almighty King. Hallelujah! Amen.

To draw near means to come close. Come close to the Cross honestly, openly, and truthfully. God already knows everything. There’s no hiding anything from Him.

At the foot of the Cross we can trust that He will do what He says He will do – make us presentable to enter His gates, come into His courts, and approach the throne of the Most High King. Only with a clean heart and a clear conscience we can stand in the presence of the Almighty.

How will you respond?

Monday, March 03, 2008

The Unshakable Kingdom

Hebrews 12:28
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.

Holy and Awesome God-
Your beauty and majesty are astonishing! You are seated on a radiant throne high above the earth. Your glory twinkles brilliantly like the bright Morning Star. I am in awe of You!

The city of the Living God is my heavenly home and highest hope. Arriving at this promised destination, I anticipate the jubilant celebration as thousands and thousands of adoring angels surround You in wonderful worship. Overwhelming joy will fill my heart as my name is read from the Lamb’s Book of Life. With holy fear, I’ll approach the throne of grace hand-in-hand with my Best Friend, Jesus who will present me to You as pure and innocent. Compassionately, You’ll welcome me with arms wide open because of my relationship with Your Son. The keys to heaven will be given to me! It’s a gift too great to grasp!

Thank You for the privilege and honor of knowing You deeply, intimately, and personally. Your unshakable kingdom is accessible to me. When the world around me is shaken by increased violence, great earthquakes, widespread starvation, and deadly diseases, I will stand firm in Your mighty power. Believing the Truth, tragedy will not terrorize me. Instead, with my gaze on Glory Land, I’ll have unbelievable confidence to confess with my mouth the wonders of Your love, giving thanks to You - the Living God whose kingdom is mine forever and ever because of Jesus. Hallelujah! Amen.

If you have accepted Christ as your Savior, the unshakable kingdom of the Living God is yours. The Bible clearly warns that as we get closer to His Kingdom and Christ’s return, there will be an increase in tragedy and trouble in the world. However, because we are receiving a glorious everlasting kingdom that can never be shaken, we should be thankful, and not terrorized. Instead we should look forward with hope. Keeping a positive attitude in the face of danger and disaster will be an awesome act of worship acceptable to the King.

As I recently read Luke 21:5-18 I found myself wondering how many in the church are ready for the calamities and catastrophic events that are about to happen? They are coming, and I believe they are coming fast. Are we ready to defend our faith and give thanks to God in the midst of adversity as a reverent act of worship? He is not the director of the horror show, Satan is. Will I stand firm when my faith is tested by frightening events? Will you?