I had so much fun presenting at the Columbia Baptist Fellowship L.O.V.E. Tea annual scholarship fundraiser.
Creative ladies decorated beautiful tables.
Hospitable ladies served decadent food.
Made new friends.
Hear my cry, O God;
listen to my prayer.
From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the foe.
I long to dwell in your tent forever
and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.
You are My Rock
My Strong Tower
My Most High Dwelling Place
I praise You for majestic mountains. In the breathtaking beauty of nature, I see pillars of glory and feel the extraordinary glow of Your existence. You are a perfect, powerful, and prominent pinnacle of unimpeded protection. I want to climb the spectacular summit and hide in Your sanctuary forever where:
Calamities cannot crush me
Death cannot devour me
Sadness cannot smother me
Pain cannot press me
Anxiety cannot attack me
Thank You for making the holy, high, unmovable, unshakable Rock accessible to me through Jesus Christ. My heart is weak. I am depending on You to be my strength and my shield. With Your help, Almighty God, I will climb Your pristine peak and find powerful protection. Peacefully, I'll rest in the safety of Your presence because You alone are my Rock and my Salvation. Amen.
|A mighty fortress is our God! If your heart is faint call out to Him. Follow His Voice to the high and holy Rock of Jesus Christ. Rest in the safety of His presence where He promises to hide and protect you. This is the only safe place to be during the storms of life.|
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."
I BELIEVE You are the King who sovereignly rules the universe, and supremely rules on the throne of my heart. I submit my whole life to Your divine authority. 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.
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.
Since I can't fathom the thought of anyone spending eternity in torment, 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
Luke 23: 50, 55-56
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.
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.
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.
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
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. 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 open 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 to eternity. The veil of guilt and shame that kept me hidden from You was immediately removed, revealing all that it cost You to save me.
By the way of Your precious, priceless blood I can boldly walk into Your High and Holy presence. Approaching Your gracious, glorious throne, in awe of Who You are and what You've done, all I can do is bow down and worship You for the indescribable, inexplicable, incredible things You have done for me! Hallelujah, thank You Jesus! Amen.
Ponder the indescribable, inexplicable, incredible gift of the Cross.
They crucified him.
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.
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.
Matthew 21: 12-14
Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. "It is written," he said to them, "'My house will be called a house of prayer,' but you are making it 'a den of robbers.'"
The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them.
Jesus, You are my Refiner, Reformer, and Redeemer. Blessed is Your glorious name!
The day I swung open the gate, allowed You to enter in, and crowned You King of my heart, You turned my whole world upside down for my good and Your glory.
Stomping into enemy territory, You killed my bad temper, conquered my mean mouth, and cast out my pride. You drove out the buyers and sellers that corrupt my soul: covetousness, criticism, and complacency. You emptied out many nasty and naughty things: nagging and narcissism, negativism and niggardliness, haughtiness and hypocrisy. You toppled the tables of temptation and brought down the benches of bitterness. You cleared away all the idols, impurities and irreverence I had carried into Your holy house for my personal pleasure. Fortunately, You chastened me, but did not give me over to death.
Forgiven and free, You lavishly adorned the glorious temple in my heart with boughs of love, ribbons of grace, garlands of gladness, roses of mercies, lilies of delight, and cords of gratitude. Lovingly, You opened my blind eyes to see the corruption and deception caused by my religiosity and pomposity. With eyes wide open, I saw how much You loved me when I realized how You died for me. Humbly, I exchanged the limping of my unbelief for the stability of faith. Now I am drawn to love You, to worship You, to walk with You, and to serve You in life, in death, and into eternity.
Refined, reformed, and redeemed, I gladly bring my gold purified in the fires of suffering, offering it to You as a sacrifice of praise. Generously, I send the sweet aroma of my prayers for the nations heavenward to delight Your senses. Gratefully, I present to You my body as a living sacrifice - holy and pleasing to You. I joyfully give thanks to You, my King, because You have blessed me with the good things of Your holy house for the praise of Your glorious name. Amen.
|Prepare your heart for Easter by allowing Jesus to topple the tables of temptation and benches of bitterness in the temple of your heart. Ask Him to reveal the buyers and sellers that are corrupting your soul. Allow Him to remove the idols, impurities and irreverence that rob Him of His rightful place of highest honor in your life. Ask Him to purify your heart and make it a holy house of prayer.|