Friday, May 01, 2009

Magnificent Love

1 John 3:16,23
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.This then is how we know that we belong to the truth.

Dearest Father in Heaven-
Your divine love is incredibly remarkable! That You would leave Your beautiful, majestic, celestial sanctuary in the sky to come to this hideous hole on earth to rescue hateful humans is unfathomable. I might die for someone really special, like my spouse or my child, but I'd never die for someone who despises me. Yet that's exactly what you did for me. While I was Your worst offender, You intentionally died for me. Hallelujah! Thank You, Jesus.

In light of the high price You paid to purchase my freedom, I ought not think twice about giving up my comfortable lifestyle for unpleasant people. I believe You put arrogant, obnoxious, mean-spirited individuals in my life to teach me to love Your way. Remind me daily of my own idiosyncrasies. I don't like to admit it, but You know I'm far from perfect. Instead of uttering idle, meaningless chatter, help me to actively love unlikable people the way You love me. Recognizing my own unworthiness, will be my first step toward tolerating and showing mercy to them.

Please dear Lord, fill me with so much of Your magnificent love and mighty power that my vibrant faith will be contagious, proving to the watching world that I am Your beloved child. Because I long to make You happy, I'll try my best to obey You by loving others in the name of Jesus. Amen.

How can you show the selfless love of Christ to an unlovable person today? It's not easy and it's not optional. It's a command from the High King of Heaven who has paid a high price for you. It's the least you can do to honor and glorify Him. Jesus didn't come to rescue good people, he came to save sinners. He expects us to love them too; after all, we're amongst the throng!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Dare to be a Daniel

Daniel 1: 3-4, 17, 19
Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring in some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility- young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king's palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians.

To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.

The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king's service.

Most High King of Heaven,
You have chosen and adopted me into Your royal family. Because You have made me righteous, I have no defects. All of my deformities were made perfect at the foot of the cross. The ashes of my sin were made into beauty. You have lavished me wisdom and understanding to know the mysteries of Your good, pleasing and perfect will. I am qualified to serve You, my high and heavenly King.

This world is not my home. My home is in heaven. Like Daniel, I am a foreigner in a strange place. The wholesome language I speak is uncommon here. The Christian literature I'm familiar with is abnormal. It's imperative that I adapt to the way of life in the community where I live, work and play.

You've put me here to spread the Good News that Your kingdom is available to everyone who believes. I can only do that by earning the trust and respect of those around me. Please give me the desire to be like Daniel. I need to go beyond the pleasant walls and protection of my church and immerse myself in a corrupted culture. Clinging to my faith and trusting in Your power, I'll infiltrate people with the truth about You in words they'll understand. By developing meaningful relationships and clear communication, I'll build bridges for them to enter the kingdom of heaven.

Please dear Lord, give me a courageous heart and determined mind to follow You beyond my perceived limits. Give me extraordinary wisdom and knowledge to fluently speak to those who differ from me. Use me to connect my community to Your glorious kingdom for the praise of Your name. Amen.

You don't have to go to another land to learn a new language. Study the current culture in your community. You'll probably discover that people don't speak or act like you. In order to serve them for God, you need to know their values and traditions.

Dare to be a Daniel by building bridges with non-believers. Ask God to give you the wisdom, knowledge and courage of Daniel to boldly live out your life in your neighborhood. Find a non-church related group and begin interacting with them.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Jesus' Food

John 4:34
"My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work."

Sovereign King of the Smorgasbord-
Forgive me for craving the wrong things! I think more about nourishing my body than my soul. Please fill me with so much of Jesus that I will desire nothing more. There is an endless line of hungry people right behind me if only I'd open my eyes and notice!

People are starving for something more! I've been indulging in the never-ending feast of Bread and Water without consideration of the destitute and diseased following me. They will perish without proper nourishment.

Empower me to do Your will and share the Bread of Life and Living Water, my Sweet Jesus, with the hordes of hungry and throngs of thirsty begging for something better. Let me serve them passionately, persistently, and pleasantly, making it my personal business. Its hard work but the wages and benefits are eternal. No other employer offers an eternal life insurance policy. No other business in town offers forgiveness, redemption, and healing. No other place serves all-you-can-eat love and compassion. Only at the Savior's Smorgasbord will people eat and be satisfied.

The hours are limited, closing time is near. I must urgently accomplish the mandatory mission to feed the multitudes by giving them Jesus. Open my eyes to see discouraged, dissatisfied, and disgusted individuals:

Ravished for redemption, riches and relationships
Famished for forgiveness, friends and fellowship
Starved for salvation, security and sympathy
Hungry for healing, honor, and a hero
Longing for love, life and laughter

I will immediately bring them to Your Smorgasbord where they can gorge themselves with grace and be satisfied with the name of Jesus. Amen

There's a starving society surrounding you! You've been given a mission - to do the will of Jesus, feed them. Will you obey?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Immitating Jesus

Matthew 9:35-36
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

You are the King of Compassion!If I follow You, I can easily see what You have been doing. The problem is I'm prone to wandering. Distracted by my own agenda, my mind is so focused on finishing my mission that I'm oblivious to the multitudes surrounding me. Forgive me for my lack of compassion! Open my eyes to see the lost souls entangled in the rush of life. Give me a sensitive spirit to stop and set them free. You're not asking me to sell church. You're asking me to:

Teach them by the example of my peaceful lifestyle what it means to know the Shepherd and be sheltered in the safety of His arms.

Preach the Good News by telling them the story of how You rescued me from Satan's snare and brought me to the safety of the sheepfold.

Nurse their wounds caused by the disease of despair and sickness of sin.

Please give me a heart like Yours to teach, preach, and heal. Please fill me with fresh faith and Holy Spirit power to notice the harassed and helpless hordes crying for release. I will follow You and do the things I see You doing to bring glory and honor to Your name. Amen.

Ask God to put the name of one lost sheep on your heart and in your mind today. Begin to pray specifically for their release.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Believe Ask and Obey

John 14:12-18
Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

"If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever- the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you."

Truthful King~
I can hardly believe my ears! You promise that I will do even greater things than You did! That's an overwhelming oath. I will go places Your feet never went. I will claim new territory for Your kingdom, captivating people for You. Along the way I will witness unbelievable miracles. How can that be? I am merely human. You are God and You are everywhere! I'm thankful that You lay out the plan for me:

1. Believe what You say is true
2. Ask in Your name
3. Obey

Working in Your power, with the Counselor, Comforter, and Helper living in my heart, I will have the strength to impact my community, country, and world. This sounds like a simple strategy. My Spirit is willing, but my flesh is weak. Please dear Lord, give me more faith to believe Your promise. I want nothing more than to be absolutely committed to You and the work of building Your kingdom. With all my heart I desire to accomplish great things for You in the power of Your mighty name. Amen.

Are you willing to follow God's 3-step plan to bring lost and lonely people to His kingdom? Do you believe God? Do you love him enough to obey?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Build Up Faith

Jude 1:20-28
Dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear - hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.

To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy- to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

Blessed Lord,
You teach us exactly how to live a life devoted to You in preparation for the future when we'll live with You forever in Paradise.

First, we should build ourselves up in our "most holy faith," by opening our Bibles, Your Holy Word spoken to us. Through it, You entrust us with Your priceless treasury of promises. We build an incredible fortune when we believe and obey Your costly commands. Safeguarding the invaluable Truth in our hearts will change us profoundly, pervasively, and permanently into Your holy likeness.

In addition to opening our Bibles, we are to pray in the Holy Spirit. We should confidently come to You, just as we are, broken, weak and poor. Speechless, because of pounding pain or overwhelming joy, You'll translate our inarticulate sighs. When we don't know what to pray, You'll do it for us. Blessed assurance!

We should surround ourselves with Your love. In the shelter of Your strong arms, You'll protect, prosper and prepare us. We'll be closest to You every time we open our Bibles, pray, and hang out with other believers.

Encased in Your extravagant love, we need to be a witness to the world by telling our life changing stories to everyone. We need to patiently persevere with those who hesitate to believe us, get down to business rescuing those who are on the road to destruction, and show loving kindness to those who are corrupt and callous without becoming like them. We must trust You to protect us by Your constant presence and power.

Lord, let me take these lessons seriously, putting my most holy faith into action while I wait to live happily ever after in Your magnificent kingdom. All glory to You, O God, who can keep me from stumbling. I rejoice that I can stand tall in Your luminous presence, holy and pure because of Jesus my Savior who alone is worthy of glory, majesty, and power from now until the end of time. Amen.

God's Word tells us exactly how to prepare for the future.

Build up your faith
Pray in the Holy Spirit
Surround yourself with His love
Witness to the world

Do you believe Him? What one thing will do differently today to prepare for tomorrow?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Live as Citizens of Heaven

Philippians 1:27
Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ.

You are the Perfect Pattern for godly living. As much as humanly possible, I long to model my life after Yours.

Help me to understand and obey the rules of Your magnificent heavenly kingdom that are clearly posted on the pages of my Bible. Do not let me wander away from Your Word. I want to reflect Your beauty in everything I say and do. In the laboratory of love, show me any aspect or activity in my life that will tarnish Your image. Concentrating on You, I'll accept Your gentle instruction, allowing You to polish me.

With Your Words, in all their richness, alive in me, I'll conduct myself in a manner that accurately represents the kingdom of heaven on earth. Love and patience will show my strong faith. Peace will reign in my heart. Praise and thanksgiving will always be on my lips. My kindness and humility will give others an honest impression of You.

Please send godly people into my life so that I can see Your principles in practice and apply them to my own life. Seeing others imitating You will help me to grow in Your likeness. Hearing them tell about Your work in their lives will inspire me to persevere. As I study Your Word and watch others, I'll become a living Bible, persuading and motivating others to bring glory, honor and fame to You. Amen.

What impression do people have of Christ when they see or talk with you? What changes do you need to make in your life to honor Him?As Christians, we are to represent Christ. When those around us say, "I didn't know you were a Christian," we have failed to represent him as we should. We are not merely Christ followers; we are His representatives to others.We are therefore Christ's ambassadors. 2 Corinthians 5:20

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Showing the Way

Colossians 4:5-6
Live wisely among those who are not Christians, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and effective so that you will have the right answer for everyone. NLT

Holy God~
I praise You for showing me the Way to eternal life. I now have the responsibility to show others the Way. When You brought the message to me it was not only with words but also with all-consuming power. Assure of who You are and the great distance You went to rescue me from death and decay, I'll confidently point others in the right direction by my attitudes and actions.

Everything I do and say is a witness for or against You. People every where are watching me, waiting to see my response to difficult people and tricky situations. Before I go out of the house each day, please dress me in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Clothe me with an even-temper and quickness to forgive. Never allow me to leave home without wearing LOVE or tucking peace in the pocket of my heart.

Walking hand-in-hand with my brothers and sisters, I'll appreciate the family You've given me. I'll praise, encourage, and respect them. Open my mind to Your Holy Word spoken to me through older and wiser siblings. Listening to their real life experiences will help me make sensible choices.

I want to make the most of every opportunity to be a witness for You. People will die today without knowing the Way to living happily ever after. I have the answer that will save them from death and destruction. You are the One and Only Way. Please give me courage to exercise Your all-consuming power that's within me to share Your love with a lost soul today. Because You have shown me true love, I will graciously, tenderly, and effectively show it to others through my words and conduct for the sake of our glorious family name. Amen.

Do your words and conduct truly represent our Christian family name? People are watching us, waiting to see how we'll react to situations. Pay attention to how you respond to situations today. It is your witness to a watching world. Will anyone see Jesus in you? What will you do to live wisely, making the most of every opportunity to represent the Kingdom of Heaven on earth today?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Light Me on Fire

Acts 2:3-4
They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit

Holy Spirit, Light the match and breathe on me! Set me on fire! Brand me with Your signature so that I'm Yours alone! I want to be a Christian in my heart, blazing with the zeal of Your love. With intense heat, burn away anything that isn't of You. Turn my stubborn will to soot. Melt my cold, hard heart until it glistens with righteousness. Then, teach me with tongues of living flames what You would have me do.

Ignite me with divine power. Make me spiritually combustible today! Exploding with love, I'll be tenderhearted and merciful. Bursting with joy for my salvation, I'll glow brilliantly for You. Blast away my sin, so that I crackle with kindness. Fully ablaze, I will not live for myself. Consumed by Your love, I'll live to please only You. May people recognize me on the outside by Your flickering flame that's burning in my heart. Lord, let Your righteousness shine through and be glorified in me today for Your name sake. Amen.

If you are a believer God has branded His seal on your heart (Eph 2:9). What do people see when they look at you? What do they see in your actions? Do they match the seal of God's love burned on your heart? If not, I encourage you to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to ignite a fire in your heart so that others will see Jesus when they encounter you.

Monday, April 20, 2009

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

Friday, April 17, 2009

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.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

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?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

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 within 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.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

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!

Monday, April 13, 2009

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

Friday, April 10, 2009

Dark Fridays, Endless Saturdays

The women, who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment. Luke 23: 50, 55-56

Thank You for the amazing lesson we learn from these devoted women who bravely followed You. Like best friends, they fearlessly walked with You through the dark, difficult valley of death. While the other disciples abandoned You under mounting pressure, these courageous ladies stayed at the Cross until every last gruesome detail was finished and cleaned up.

Heartbroken, they went home and prepared their most valuable possessions - spices and perfume, to lovingly and respectfully care for Your dead body. Deep in despair, they rested and waited through a long Friday night and endless Saturday mourning for the appropriate time to serve You.

We too will experience frighteningly dark Friday's - times of extreme crisis and confusion. During intensely disturbing, uncertain circumstances we can be like the disciples and go into hiding, or we can be like these courageous women and stick around until every shocking detail is worked into something magnificently beautiful. In their wildest dreams, they couldn't have imagined the spectacular ending to the story; but, because of their wholehearted love and commitment, they were the first to witness the miracle of Your astonishing resurrection.

O how often we miss the wonders of Your love because we walk away during duress. With our eyes on our own sad situation, we don't even consider offering our most valuable treasures to tenderly and reverently care for You. Please dear Lord, give us strength to endure excruciatingly painful conditions, sensitive hearts to serve You in the midst of our misery, and faith to remain at the grave through our grief.

Just as You turned their tragedy into triumph, we can expect You to turn our dark Fridays and endless Saturdays into brilliant Sundays for the glory of Your name. Hallelujah! Amen.

Between yesterday's tragedy and tomorrow's triumph will you leave God or linger at the grave until He's glorified?

Your Good Friday could be disease or death, affliction or addiction, divorce or separation, heartache or hardship, disaster or destruction. Whatever your misfortune, look forward with hope to Easter Sunday when your mourning will turn to joy.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. With Pilate's permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus' body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there. John 19:38-42

Holy Spirit,
Thank You for opening the eyes of my heart to see that I too am guilty of being a secret follower of Jesus like Joseph and Nicodemus. I call myself a Christian in my heart, but am afraid to admit it in front of people. Frightened of losing my prestigious place in the community, I too hide my faith in the closet. A people pleaser, I'm too scared of ridicule to stand out and publicly acknowledge my allegiance to You. Forgive me, O God, for my half-hearted commitment.

On that dreadfully dark Friday, these two casual disciples witnessed the unbelievable signs and wonders of the Cross. They experienced the unusual daytime blackout and the thunderous earthquake that shook open the gates of heaven. They saw the dead rise from the grave and knew beyond a shadow of doubt that You were Who You said You were. Recognizing the great distance You went and the exorbitant price You paid for them, they opened their mouths and spoke.

Having seen You die, their hearts were enlivened to ask for Your bloodied, bruised and battered body. Out of gratitude they bravely came out of hiding to give You a proper burial. Radically changed by Your death, they risked everything: their prominent positions, their social status, and their livelihoods to ensure that You were treated with deep heartfelt respect and dignity.

O Lord, will you kindly change my timid heart by Your death? Embolden me to come out of hiding, confidently stand up, open my mouth and speak out for You no matter the cost. With a fully devoted heart, I'll willingly risk my reputation to bring glory and honor to You because You died for me. Amen.

Are you a secret follower of Jesus Christ? Do you hide your faith from your friends and fellow workers? This is an appropriate time to come out of the closet and let others know your allegiance to Him.

Jesus has some strong words for us: "If anyone acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will openly acknowledge that person before my Father in heaven. But if anyone denies me here on earth, I will deny that person before my Father in heaven." Matthew 10:32-33 NLT

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

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, April 07, 2009

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, April 06, 2009


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, April 03, 2009

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.

Look at the Cross. Consider Jesus hanging there in pain and agony. 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 what He suffered. He did it all for love. He did it for us - to prove His love. Do you believe Him? How will your respond to His remarkable love?

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Vision of 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, April 01, 2009

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 31, 2009

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.

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.

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."
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 30, 2009

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.

Friday, March 27, 2009

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 26, 2009

Simon of Cyrene

Matthew 27:32-35
As they were on the way, they came across a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene, and they forced him to carry Jesus' cross. Then they went out to a place called Golgotha (which means Skull Hill). The soldiers gave him wine mixed with bitter gall, but when he had tasted it, he refused to drink it. After they had nailed him to the cross.

Jesus, Son of God,

Thank You for the wonderful mystical image You've given me through Simon of Cyrene. An unimportant, ordinary man, he happened to stop at a dramatic scene, and was pressed into service by the tap of the Roman's soldier's sword. Little did he know when he stopped to watch the drama unfold, that he'd be forced to participate in an unwanted, unplanned, and unglamorous assignment that would radically reshape the remainder of his life. Undoubtedly, he had no idea that the command he'd been given to carry Your cross would be one of the greatest honors ever bestowed on a human being. Certainly, he didn't expect a divine encounter when he left home that morning. Pressed into service, he had no choice but to lay aside his plans and obey.

Lord, if you tap me on the shoulder with the Sword of Your Word and compel me to carry a burden for You, I want to be like Simon of Cyrene. He wasn't chosen because he was pious, strong or faithful. He was chosen simply because he was in the right place at the right time. He may have grudging obliged. However, seeing his blessing I'll willingly pick up any burden You hand me and carry it no matter the cost. A job that looks insignificant and inconsequential could turn out to be an incredibly important, life altering incident, and a divine encounter with You.

All around me are broken, traumatized, exhausted people who have stumbled and can't get up. The weight of their cross is more than they can bear. Helping a scorned person carry his or her humiliation will likely disrupt my plans and dreams. It will certainly require sacrifice. Undoubtedly, it may be degrading and out of my comfort zone. At the same time, it may be the most honorable, significant assignment I ever receive. Please dear Lord, press me into service today. I will obey to honor and glorify Your name. Amen.

Whose cross can you carry today? Open the eyes of your heart and look around. There are hurting people every where. Stop whatever you're doing. Pick up their cross and walk in the name of Jesus. Just as Christ walked with Simon, He'll walk with you. That irritating interruption may be one of the greatest honors you'll ever receive.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

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.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Choice is Yours

Matthew 27: 16-20
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.

Matthew 27:11-26

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.

Monday, March 23, 2009


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 20, 2009

Tempted to Sleep

Matthew 26:38, 40-41, 43-45
Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me."

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?" he asked Peter. "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."

When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them. Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near."

Precious Jesus,

I am so sorry! You've invited me to join You in agonizing prayer, and I have failed you miserably! Surrounded by the sorrow of sin, overwhelmed by the misery of severe suffering, and swallowed up in the sheer terror of impending death, You've asked me to keep vigil, but like Peter, I'm drowsy and prone to dozing off. Forgive me, O Lord!

You know the brutal battle that lies ahead for me. Clearly, You warn me to pay attention and pray. Deep agonizing grief from the consequences of poor choices will besiege me. The intense suffering from sickness will be unbearable. The cruel killing of souls and maiming of minds will torment me to the point of overwhelming despair. With all my heart, I want to obey, but the nighttime of the soul seems eternally long and I'm worn out and restless.

I beg You to teach me to pray powerful prayers that will crush the adversary. The hour is near when You'll come back, and I don't want You to find me sleeping again. I want You to be pleasantly surprised when You find me in the garden wrestling over the burdens of Your heart for the glory of Your name. Amen.

O. Chambers writes in My Utmost for His Highest, October 16: "The key to the missionary's difficult task is in the hand of God, and that key is prayer, not work ... the key is in following the Master's orders - the key is prayer.

Jesus has invited us to watch and pray with Him. His intense agonizing prayer in the garden gave Him the strength to face the journey to the cross. If you don't pay attention and wrestle with Him in prayer, you'll snap when the stress and strain do come - and it will come. Ask Jesus to teach you to pray powerful prayers that will crush the enemy.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Pray Like Jesus

Matthew 26: 37-39, 42,
He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death" ... He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying,"O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will."

Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying,"O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done."

So He went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. NKJV

O Lord Jesus,
Thank You for teaching me how to pray! Forgive me for my casual, careless prayers. My happy-go-lucky heart would rather be singing praises and dancing than falling on my face in deep sorrowful prayer. I've failed to follow Your example. My prayers have been hasty, shallow and sloppy. I wonder why they go unanswered.

Please lay Your heart over my heart and teach me to pray. O that my soul would be exceedingly anguished even to the point of death for the things that trouble You. Rather than praying as I drive down the road asking You to bless this person and that person, give me this and give them that, I want to go to the garden alone, far away from the hustle and bustle, where I can experience prayer with You.

In Your presence, I'll fall on my face. Crying out to You in deep distress, You'll tell me exactly what's on Your heart. As I sit still, quietly listening to Your voice, my prayer life will change. I'll be overcome with grief for the things that grieve You. The intense pain will be unbearable. It'll be tempting to walk away from the severe problems and pressures you reveal to me, but Lord, with all my heart I want to follow You, even to death. I want to pray like You, Jesus, not my will but Yours be done. Amen.

Have you ever had this heart of God? Have you ever prayed like Jesus? Would you be willing to allow God to take You to a different kind of praying? Turn around and follow Jesus. He'll teach you how to pray powerful prayers that will make a kingdom difference.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


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."

Then, 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. (Matthew 26:69-75)

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.

Reflect on the lyrics and listen to Stand Up, Stand Up For Jesus.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

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

Friday, March 13, 2009

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 by 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 12, 2009

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 to do an internal housecleaning.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

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 fully 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?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

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.

Monday, March 09, 2009

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?

Take it to heart by reflecting on the lyrics and listening to Just As I Am.

Friday, March 06, 2009

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 the 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 appearance 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 by 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.