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.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Gettin' Ready

2 Peter 3: 10-12
The day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.

Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 Peter 3: 10-18

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Clean Heart Living

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Draw Near To God

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How will you respond?

Monday, March 02, 2009

Unshakable Kingdom

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

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

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

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

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

As I recently read Luke 21:5-19 I found myself wondering how many in the church are ready for the calamities and catastrophic events that are about to happen? They are coming, and I believe they are coming fast. Are we ready to defend our faith and give thanks to God in the midst of adversity as a reverent act of worship? He is not the director of the horror show, Satan is. Will I stand firm when my faith is tested by frightening events? Will you?