Monday, May 17, 2010

Glory to God...


Psalm 33

1 Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous;
it is fitting for the upright to praise him.

2 Praise the LORD with the harp;
make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre.

3 Sing to him a new song;
play skillfully, and shout for joy.

4 For the word of the LORD is right and true;
he is faithful in all he does.

5 The LORD loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of his unfailing love.

6 By the word of the LORD were the heavens made,
their starry host by the breath of his mouth.

7 He gathers the waters of the sea into jars [a] ;
he puts the deep into storehouses.

8 Let all the earth fear the LORD;
let all the people of the world revere him.

9 For he spoke, and it came to be;
he commanded, and it stood firm.

10 The LORD foils the plans of the nations;
he thwarts the purposes of the peoples.

11 But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever,
the purposes of his heart through all generations.

12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he chose for his inheritance.

13 From heaven the LORD looks down
and sees all mankind;

14 from his dwelling place he watches
all who live on earth-

15 he who forms the hearts of all,
who considers everything they do.

16 No king is saved by the size of his army;
no warrior escapes by his great strength.

17 A horse is a vain hope for deliverance;
despite all its great strength it cannot save.

18 But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,

19 to deliver them from death
and keep them alive in famine.

20 We wait in hope for the LORD;
he is our help and our shield.

21 In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.

22 May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD,
even as we put our hope in you.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Glory of God...



...to be overwhelmed by God's greatness and Glory...
...when His hand can be seen in the little things as well as in the big things...
...when His presence is un-deniable, and His glory is all around...
...when thoughts of Him leave you speechless...
...words can not describe it...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Food for Thought...

"A real Christian is a person who can give his pet parrot to the town gossip."

-Billy Graham

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Reflection: Victorious One!!!







John 20
The Empty Tomb
1Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don't know where they have put him!"
3So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus' head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. 8Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9(They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)

Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
10Then the disciples went back to their homes, 11but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus' body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
13They asked her, "Woman, why are you crying?"

"They have taken my Lord away," she said, "and I don't know where they have put him." 14At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

15"Woman," he said, "why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?"
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him."

16Jesus said to her, "Mary."
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher).

17Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.' "

18Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: "I have seen the Lord!" And she told them that he had said these things to her.


Isaiah 65:17-25
New Heavens and a New Earth

17 "Behold, I will create
new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
nor will they come to mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice forever
in what I will create,
for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight
and its people a joy.

19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem
and take delight in my people;
the sound of weeping and of crying
will be heard in it no more.

20 "Never again will there be in it
an infant who lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not live out his years;
he who dies at a hundred
will be thought a mere youth;
he who fails to reach [a] a hundred
will be considered accursed.

21 They will build houses and dwell in them;
they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.

22 No longer will they build houses and others live in them,
or plant and others eat.
For as the days of a tree,
so will be the days of my people;
my chosen ones will long enjoy
the works of their hands.

23 They will not toil in vain
or bear children doomed to misfortune;
for they will be a people blessed by the LORD,
they and their descendants with them.

24 Before they call I will answer;
while they are still speaking I will hear.

25 The wolf and the lamb will feed together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox,
but dust will be the serpent's food.
They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,"
says the LORD.


Psalm 118
1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.

2 Let Israel say:
"His love endures forever."


Psalm 118:14-24
14 The LORD is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation.

15 Shouts of joy and victory
resound in the tents of the righteous:
"The LORD's right hand has done mighty things!

16 The LORD's right hand is lifted high;
the LORD's right hand has done mighty things!"

17 I will not die but live,
and will proclaim what the LORD has done.

18 The LORD has chastened me severely,
but he has not given me over to death.

19 Open for me the gates of righteousness;
I will enter and give thanks to the LORD.

20 This is the gate of the LORD
through which the righteous may enter.

21 I will give you thanks, for you answered me;
you have become my salvation.

22 The stone the builders rejected
has become the capstone;

23 the LORD has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes.

24 This is the day the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.








Galations 2
20I 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.

1 Peter 4
Living for God
1Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. 2As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. 3For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. 4They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you. 5But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to men in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.
7The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. 8Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.



...



anointed one...chosen one...betrayed one...humble & loving one...persecuted one...victorious one!!!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Passion Week - Saturday Reflection


John 19:38-42
The Burial of Jesus
38Later, 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. 39He 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.[a] 40Taking Jesus' body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. 41At 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. 42Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.


Lamentations 3:19-24
19 I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.

20 I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.

21 Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:

22 Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.

23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

24 I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him."


Psalm 31
1 In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
deliver me in your righteousness.
2 Turn your ear to me,
come quickly to my rescue;
be my rock of refuge,
a strong fortress to save me.

3 Since you are my rock and my fortress,
for the sake of your name lead and guide me.

4 Free me from the trap that is set for me,
for you are my refuge.


Psalm 31:15-16
15 My times are in your hands;
deliver me from my enemies
and from those who pursue me.

16 Let your face shine on your servant;
save me in your unfailing love.



Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday Reflection: Persecuted One


John 19
Jesus Sentenced to be Crucified
1Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. 2The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe 3and went up to him again and again, saying, "Hail, king of the Jews!" And they struck him in the face.
4Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews, "Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him." 5When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, "Here is the man!"

6As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, "Crucify! Crucify!"
But Pilate answered, "You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him."

7The Jews insisted, "We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God."

8When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, 9and he went back inside the palace. "Where do you come from?" he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10"Do you refuse to speak to me?" Pilate said. "Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?"

11Jesus answered, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin."

12From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jews kept shouting, "If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar."

13When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge's seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). 14It was the day of Preparation of Passover Week, about the sixth hour.
"Here is your king," Pilate said to the Jews.

15But they shouted, "Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!"
"Shall I crucify your king?" Pilate asked.
"We have no king but Caesar," the chief priests answered.

16Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.

The Crucifixion
So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. 17Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). 18Here they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.
19Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read:sc JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. 20Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. 21The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, "Do not write 'The King of the Jews,' but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews."

22Pilate answered, "What I have written, I have written."

23When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.

24"Let's not tear it," they said to one another. "Let's decide by lot who will get it."
This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled which said,
"They divided my garments among them
and cast lots for my clothing."[c] So this is what the soldiers did.

25Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Dear woman, here is your son," 27and to the disciple, "Here is your mother." From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

The Death of Jesus
28Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I am thirsty." 29A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus' lips. 30When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
31Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. 33But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 36These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: "Not one of his bones will be broken,"[d] 37and, as another scripture says, "They will look on the one they have pierced."[e]


Isaiah 52:13-53:12
The Suffering and Glory of the Servant
13 See, my servant will act wisely [a] ;
he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.
14 Just as there were many who were appalled at him [b]—
his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man
and his form marred beyond human likeness—

15 so will he sprinkle many nations, [c]
and kings will shut their mouths because of him.
For what they were not told, they will see,
and what they have not heard, they will understand.

Isaiah 53
1 Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?

2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

3 He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

4 Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.

5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.

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.

7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before her shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.

8 By oppression [d] and judgment he was taken away.
And who can speak of his descendants?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was stricken. [e]

9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the LORD makes [f] his life a guilt offering,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.

11 After the suffering of his soul,
he will see the light of life [g] and be satisfied [h] ;
by his knowledge [i] my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.

12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, [j]
and he will divide the spoils with the strong, [k]
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.


Psalm 22
1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from the words of my groaning?
2 O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, and am not silent.

3 Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
you are the praise of Israel. [a]

4 In you our fathers put their trust;
they trusted and you delivered them.

5 They cried to you and were saved;
in you they trusted and were not disappointed.

6 But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by men and despised by the people.

7 All who see me mock me;
they hurl insults, shaking their heads:

8 "He trusts in the LORD;
let the LORD rescue him.
Let him deliver him,
since he delights in him."

9 Yet you brought me out of the womb;
you made me trust in you
even at my mother's breast.

10 From birth I was cast upon you;
from my mother's womb you have been my God.

11 Do not be far from me,
for trouble is near
and there is no one to help.

12 Many bulls surround me;
strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.

13 Roaring lions tearing their prey
open their mouths wide against me.

14 I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart has turned to wax;
it has melted away within me.

15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
you lay me [b] in the dust of death.

16 Dogs have surrounded me;
a band of evil men has encircled me,
they have pierced [c] my hands and my feet.

17 I can count all my bones;
people stare and gloat over me.

18 They divide my garments among them
and cast lots for my clothing.

19 But you, O LORD, be not far off;
O my Strength, come quickly to help me.

20 Deliver my life from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dogs.

21 Rescue me from the mouth of the lions;
save [d] me from the horns of the wild oxen.

22 I will declare your name to my brothers;
in the congregation I will praise you.

23 You who fear the LORD, praise him!
All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!
Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!

24 For he has not despised or disdained
the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him
but has listened to his cry for help.

25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly;
before those who fear you [e] will I fulfill my vows.

26 The poor will eat and be satisfied;
they who seek the LORD will praise him—
may your hearts live forever!

27 All the ends of the earth
will remember and turn to the LORD,
and all the families of the nations
will bow down before him,

28 for dominion belongs to the LORD
and he rules over the nations.

29 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;
all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—
those who cannot keep themselves alive.

30 Posterity will serve him;
future generations will be told about the Lord.

31 They will proclaim his righteousness
to a people yet unborn—
for he has done it.

>

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Passion Week - Thursday Reflection: Humble & Loving One

John 13
Jesus Washes His Disciples' Feet
1It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.
2The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. 3Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

6He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?"

7Jesus replied, "You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand."

8"No," said Peter, "you shall never wash my feet."
Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me."

9"Then, Lord," Simon Peter replied, "not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!"

10Jesus answered, "A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you." 11For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.

12When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. "Do you understand what I have done for you?" he asked them. 13"You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. 15I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.


John 13:31-35
Jesus Predicts Peter's Denial

31When he was gone, Jesus said, "Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in him. 32If God is glorified in him,[a] God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.
33"My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.

34"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."


1 Corinthians 11:23-26
23For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." 25In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." 26For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.


Psalm 116:12-19

12 How can I repay the LORD
for all his goodness to me?

13 I will lift up the cup of salvation
and call on the name of the LORD.

14 I will fulfill my vows to the LORD
in the presence of all his people.

15 Precious in the sight of the LORD
is the death of his saints.

16 O LORD, truly I am your servant;
I am your servant, the son of your maidservant [a] ;
you have freed me from my chains.

17 I will sacrifice a thank offering to you
and call on the name of the LORD.

18 I will fulfill my vows to the LORD
in the presence of all his people,

19 in the courts of the house of the LORD—
in your midst, O Jerusalem.
Praise the LORD.


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Passion Week - Wednesday Reflection: Betrayed One


John 13:21-32

21After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, "I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me."

22His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. 23One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. 24Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, "Ask him which one he means."

25Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, "Lord, who is it?"

26Jesus answered, "It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish." Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, son of Simon. 27As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.

"What you are about to do, do quickly," Jesus told him, 28but no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. 29Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the Feast, or to give something to the poor. 30As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.

Jesus Predicts Peter's Denial
31When he was gone, Jesus said, "Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in him. 32If God is glorified in him,[a] God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.


Isaiah 50:4-9

4 The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue,
to know the word that sustains the weary.
He wakens me morning by morning,
wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.

5 The Sovereign LORD has opened my ears,
and I have not been rebellious;
I have not drawn back.

6 I offered my back to those who beat me,
my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard;
I did not hide my face
from mocking and spitting.

7 Because the Sovereign LORD helps me,
I will not be disgraced.
Therefore have I set my face like flint,
and I know I will not be put to shame.

8 He who vindicates me is near.
Who then will bring charges against me?
Let us face each other!
Who is my accuser?
Let him confront me!

9 It is the Sovereign LORD who helps me.
Who is he that will condemn me?


Psalm 70

1 Hasten, O God, to save me;
O LORD, come quickly to help me.
2 May those who seek my life
be put to shame and confusion;
may all who desire my ruin
be turned back in disgrace.

3 May those who say to me, "Aha! Aha!"
turn back because of their shame.

4 But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation always say,
"Let God be exalted!"

5 Yet I am poor and needy;
come quickly to me, O God.
You are my help and my deliverer;
O LORD, do not delay.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Passion Week - Tuesday Reflection: Chosen One

John 12:20-36
Jesus Predicts His Death
20Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast. 21They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. "Sir," they said, "we would like to see Jesus." 22Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.
23Jesus replied, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

27"Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28Father, glorify your name!"

Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and will glorify it again." 29The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.

30Jesus said, "This voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. 32But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself." 33He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.

34The crowd spoke up, "We have heard from the Law that the Christ[a] will remain forever, so how can you say, 'The Son of Man must be lifted up'? Who is this 'Son of Man'?"

35Then Jesus told them, "You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going. 36Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light." When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them



Isaiah 49
The Servant of the LORD
1 Listen to me, you islands;
hear this, you distant nations:
Before I was born the LORD called me;
from my birth he has made mention of my name.
2 He made my mouth like a sharpened sword,
in the shadow of his hand he hid me;
he made me into a polished arrow
and concealed me in his quiver.

3 He said to me, "You are my servant,
Israel, in whom I will display my splendor."

4 But I said, "I have labored to no purpose;
I have spent my strength in vain and for nothing.
Yet what is due me is in the LORD's hand,
and my reward is with my God."

5 And now the LORD says—
he who formed me in the womb to be his servant
to bring Jacob back to him
and gather Israel to himself,
for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD
and my God has been my strength-

6 he says:
"It is too small a thing for you to be my servant
to restore the tribes of Jacob
and bring back those of Israel I have kept.
I will also make you a light for the Gentiles,
that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth."

7 This is what the LORD says—
the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel—
to him who was despised and abhorred by the nation,
to the servant of rulers:
"Kings will see you and rise up,
princes will see and bow down,
because of the LORD, who is faithful,
the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you."


Psalm 71
1 In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame.

2 Rescue me and deliver me in your righteousness;
turn your ear to me and save me.

3 Be my rock of refuge,
to which I can always go;
give the command to save me,
for you are my rock and my fortress.

4 Deliver me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked,
from the grasp of evil and cruel men.

5 For you have been my hope, O Sovereign LORD,
my confidence since my youth.

6 From birth I have relied on you;
you brought me forth from my mother's womb.
I will ever praise you.

7 I have become like a portent to many,
but you are my strong refuge.

8 My mouth is filled with your praise,
declaring your splendor all day long.

9 Do not cast me away when I am old;
do not forsake me when my strength is gone.

10 For my enemies speak against me;
those who wait to kill me conspire together.

11 They say, "God has forsaken him;
pursue him and seize him,
for no one will rescue him."

12 Be not far from me, O God;
come quickly, O my God, to help me.

13 May my accusers perish in shame;
may those who want to harm me
be covered with scorn and disgrace.

14 But as for me, I will always have hope;
I will praise you more and more.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Passion Week - Monday Reflection: Anointed One


John 12
Jesus Anointed at Bethany


1Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2Here a dinner was given in Jesus' honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. 3Then Mary took about a pint[a] of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus' feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

4But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5"Why wasn't this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year's wages.[b]" 6He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

7"Leave her alone," Jesus replied. " It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. 8You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me."

9Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, 11for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and putting their faith in him.

Isaiah 42

1 "Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him
and he will bring justice to the nations.
2 He will not shout or cry out,
or raise his voice in the streets.

3 A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;

4 he will not falter or be discouraged
till he establishes justice on earth.
In his law the islands will put their hope."

5 This is what God the LORD says—
he who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spread out the earth and all that comes out of it,
who gives breath to its people,
and life to those who walk on it:

6 "I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness;
I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people
and a light for the Gentiles,

7 to open eyes that are blind,
to free captives from prison
and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.

8 "I am the LORD; that is my name!
I will not give my glory to another
or my praise to idols.

9 See, the former things have taken place,
and new things I declare;
before they spring into being
I announce them to you."



Psalm 36:5-11

5 Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies.

6 Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
your justice like the great deep.
O LORD, you preserve both man and beast.

7 How priceless is your unfailing love!
Both high and low among men
find [a] refuge in the shadow of your wings.

8 They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.

9 For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.

10 Continue your love to those who know you,
your righteousness to the upright in heart.

11 May the foot of the proud not come against me,
nor the hand of the wicked drive me away.



...thank you, Lord, for what you've done, what you're doing, and what you're going to do...




Sunday, March 28, 2010

Prepare the Way...







Isaiah 40:3-5


A voice of one calling:
"In the wilderness prepare
the way for the LORD;
make straight in the desert
a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be raised up,
every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
the rugged places a plain.
And the glory of the LORD will be revealed,
and all people will see it together.
For the mouth of the LORD has spoken."


...listen to Sunday's message HERE.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Flashback....



Remember this??? I just did...

“but he (Jesus) said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (II Corinthians 12:9-10)



read HERE for more...

Friday, February 26, 2010

Like a Child...

This video truly speaks for itself on so many levels. Listen to the prayers of these children - may this be the cry of our hearts...




Matthew 18:1-4

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Taking a Stand...

The other night, during my "20-minute tease" at Barnes & Noble, I picked up the first book that caught my eye - 'Jesus Freaks II Revolutionaries' by DC Talk. The first line I read was this...

"Jesus came to comfort the afflicted, but He also came to afflict the comfortable."

I immediately thought of Pastor Terry's message on Sunday, 'Styrofoam Watchmen'. (If you missed it, you can listen to it HERE.) I continued to read...

"Throughout history, true followers of Christ, have been revolutionaries. As the trends of society have been dictated by the herd mentality, these men and women of God have stood up and said, "Hey, wait a minute. That's not right!" They reached our their hands to people the rest of the world walked by without a glance, they spoke out when shutting up would have saved their lives, they distributed bibles when others were passing out ammunition, they took God places other people called "God-forsaken," they picked up their crosses and followed Christ when others cried, "Lord, Lord," but did nothing. And for this they were called "Freaks."
...
"those who know the truth can't help but stand up for Him and tell others about Him"

Proverbs 1:32
For the waywardness of the simple will kill them,and the complacency of fools will destroy them



Tuesday, February 9, 2010

O.N.E.

John 17:11
I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one.

John 17:20-23
"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

unity is the word...
God has been speaking this to the body for some time now and it is extrememly exciting to see His word coming to pass. It extends far beyond New Life Church...God is uniting believers across the board...ONE body. From TheCall to OnePrayer to theRevolution, the common goal is the same - to unite as ONE - praying for and reaching out to a lost and dying world.

Ephesians 4:1-6
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.


Ephesians 4:29-32
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.






Saturday, January 23, 2010

Day 21: Here We Are, Send Us!


Please read Isaiah 6:1-8




These meditations have been arranged to reflect the work God accomplished in the life of the Prophet Isaiah, with the expectancy that God would work in our lives, both individually and corporately, in the same manner.
We have sought to enable you to understand and taste of four particular aspects of the prophet’s experience, believing that there would be parallel results.
First, the prophet was brought face to face with his Creator and Savior, where he gazed upon the beauty of His holiness. Secondly, as the prophet was revived by his fresh view of the Lord, he was cut to the heart by his own unworthiness, which was remedied only as he confessed his weakness and the Lord cleansed him from his iniquity. As a result, his heart was transformed into a dwelling place of the Almighty. Finally, in response to all that the Lord had revealed to him, Isaiah declared, “Here I am, send me”, when the Lord made His needs known to him.

Lord, we pray that we may all grasp your beauty and that we might be moved to acknowledge your holiness. We confess that we are unworthy and unfit apart from you. But we give you thanks that you are merciful and gracious to us, that you prepare us to collaborate with you in your great endeavors. Lord, we give ourselves to you to serve in any manner you see fit as you enable us through your abundant grace.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Day 20: Enabled to Serve


“The gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” (Romans 11:29)



What God has given He doesn’t take back. He does, however, expect faithfulness from those in whom He invests. We are responsible to Him for what we do with His endowments. The Parable of the Talents, where the wealthy investor entrusts his servant with his goods and rewards them accordingly, is evidence enough.
Unfortunately, we often allow our gifts to fall into a state of disrepair; they become inactive and inefficient. We quench the Spirit. But, we must understand that these gifts, big or small (in our own eyes) are of significance to body life. If you feel that your gifts and contributions are unnecessary or unappreciated, you need to consider Paul’s exhortation in I Corinthians 12 where he demonstrates the absolute need of each member of the body, and how they add to the overall well-being of the church.
God expects us to fight through fear and discouragement, and keep the glow of our gifts burning brightly. The Apostle Paul encouraged Timothy to not shift his gifts into neutral, but to stir them up constantly for the good of the Body of Christ (I Timothy 4:14; II Timothy 1:6).
We serve the Church through the endowments of grace that God deposits in each of our hearts. The Apostle Paul recognized that everything that he accomplished was due to that amazing grace. He testified, “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” (I Corinthians 15:10). We must, for God’s honor and the good of others, keep our gifts in active service.

Thank God for the gifts He has given to each member of the Body of Christ and for your gifts in particular. Ask Him to forgive you, if you have allowed your gifts to sit idly even as people are in need. Seek Him to help you restore your gifts to vigor. Pray that, if He counts you faithful, to increase your gifting for the benefit of others and His glory.

Consider:
Matthew 25:13-30

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Day 19: Spirit Filled Service


“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:18-20)




Before Jesus sent His disciples out to conquer the world, He instructed them to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father, which was and is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Jesus told the disciples that this filling would be necessary for them to fulfill their mission. Through the Spirit, they received power to be faithful witnesses to His resurrection as seen in Acts chapter two.
It was so important to be constantly full of the Spirit that they experienced regular fillings from the presence of the Lord. In Acts 4:31, the word says, “And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness.” Note that they spoke the word with boldness, when they were full of the Spirit.
Should our experience differ from theirs? If we are called to fulfill the same mission Jesus gave the first disciples, and we are, shouldn’t we legitimately expect the same power from on high to come to our aid? Not only should we expect it, we should seek to be filled as they did and as the Apostle Paul instructed us in our Bible text above.

As you wait upon God, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, ask Him to fill you with His Holy Spirit. Tell Him that you are available, but that you need His presence to make a difference in the world through your service. Wait for a fresh anointing.

Consider:
Joel 2:28-29; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 16:25; Romans 12:11

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Day 18: Transforming Power


“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (II Timothy 2:15).

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (II Timothy 3:16-17)




Paul knew what Timothy needed, if he was going to be effective in the service to which the Lord had called him. The word, ministered through the Spirit, is God agent of change in the lives of all His children who desire to serve in His kingdom. God’s word reveals who God is and what He desires for each of us. It is the standard to which we constantly aspire.
What do we have to give others, if we don’t have His word? Jesus taught His disciples that we are to labor, not for the food that perishes, but for that food which endures to everlasting life (John 6:26-27). He challenged them to partake of His flesh and blood, which repulsed many who followed Him. But He was speaking metaphorically of His word. Later, He plainly told them, “My words are spirit and they are life.”
We must have the word in abundance in our lives to affect the transformation God is looking for in us, but that same spiritual food is medium by which we bless those whom we serve.
We may never preach from a pulpit in a church, but we are all called to manifest God's word to a dying world. St. Francis of Assisi was quoted as saying, “preach the word always, and use words when necessary.” Our example and testimony are the most powerful manifestations of the word of God that the world will ever know.

Thank the Lord for the transforming power of His word in your life as it renews your mind and enlightens you like sun breaking at dawn. Ask Him to make you strong in the word and bold to live it and give it freely to others.

Consider:
John 1:1, 14; Acts 18:24; Romans 12:1-2; Colossians 3:16; II Timothy 4:2; Hebrews 4:12; I John 2:14

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Day 17: Weakness Breeds Strength?



“but he (Jesus) said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (II Corinthians 12:9-10)





Who doesn’t feel weak for the task? We do everything we can to hide, disguise, and make excuses for our weaknesses. Pride gets in our way of God’s intent. When we come to those valleys we can’t or won’t cross, He wants us to look to Him who opened the Red Sea. Maybe our problem isn’t Red Sea sized, but it is, none the less, more than we can handle.
It’s here that so many of us turn back. I thought God wanted me to do this, but there’s just no way it’s going to work! Really? Maybe God brought you out to the borders of impossibility to show you His power and glory. Maybe He wants to demonstrate how His grace can turn your weakness to power.
The Apostle Paul, in our scripture verses today, was desperate to be delivered from the powers that were arrayed against him. He prayed three times. The Lord’s response was, “My grace is sufficient for you...” Paul, instead of being puffed up, humbled himself and embraced his weaknesses knowing that the Lord was about to do something beyond his own ability.
When you think you can’t, think again. Rejoice in your weakness and take a step of faith to serve others in the power of God’s grace.

In humility, ask God to cloth you with His strength by giving you a generous portion of His grace. Tell Him that you won’t turn back from the call, when things get too tough. Thank Him than He knows what you need and that He will supply it in good measure.

Consider:
I Corinthians 1:25-29; Hebrews 4:14-16; Ephesians 3:14-21; Colossians 1:29

Monday, January 18, 2010

Day 16: I'm Ready to Go!


“And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Then I said, "Here am I! Send me." (Isaiah 6:8)




At the right time, after the prophet’s iniquity was erased and his guilty conscience relieved, God offered him a stake in His business. We jump too early. The work is barely begun and we think we’re ready, but the transformation and preparation of the heart of a man or woman of God is a meticulous work, which only the One who searches the hearts to their core can understand and accomplish. He won’t send us out to the wolves unprepared. David killed a lion and a bear before he “did in” the giant.
God works on His own time table and He doesn’t always let us know what it is. He, and only He, knows when the work is complete in us for the task at hand. “If the vision tarries”, God told the Prophet Habakkuk, “wait for it; it will surely come”.
Isaiah was willing to wait, but when the time came, he was in perfect step with God. He didn’t even know what God wanted him to do; it didn’t matter. Because he had seen the God he served, he was willing to go without knowing. A heart so yielded may be what God is working in you. It’s a precious and costly thing.

Tell the Lord, in prayer, that you are ready to go now or wait a bit more. Assure Him that you are His and He can do with you as He pleases when He pleases. Thank Him that He is working in the secret places and preparing room for you to give and serve generously.

Consider:
Ephesians 2:10; Philippians 1:6; 2:13; Hebrews 13:20-21

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Day 15: Confession to Cleansing


“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:8-9)




A worldly man gives no consideration to the condition of his heart before he embarks on a new enterprise, but God begins at the heart. Those whom He calls to serve Him and consequently men, are first brought face to face with their own unworthiness and inability to serve acceptably.
When the Lord gave Isaiah the vision of Himself, Isaiah fully grasped his own condition and he recoiled at himself and the people he would serve. But God did not leave him in his desperation; He immediately sent His angelic messenger to the aid of His prophet-the man He would send to do His bidding.
He spoke a word of comfort to him of sorts. He sent the angel with a lively coal from off the altar and touched the prophet’s lips, and declared that all of his iniquity was taken away. The prophet had seen the darkness inside himself, but God didn’t leave him with the vision burning in his heart and no way to fulfill it
What darkness hinders you from being acceptable to the Lord for His good service? Confess it now and God will remove the barrier. He will make you a vessel of honor, fit for His own use.

Ask God in prayer to show you what you can’t see yourself. Pray that He reveal the secret things that might hinder your service at this time. Ask God to bring His correction with abundant mercy. If He shows you anything over the next few days, humble yourself and confess.

Consider:
Psalm 139:23-24; Hebrews 12:1-14

Week Three: Grace for Service



Introduction

Can we do anything on our own? At first glance we may be inclined to think that we can. But standing in the face of our affirmation are the words of Jesus; “... apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5a). His words strike deeply into our heart as He brands all of our efforts, apart from Him, as useless. However, when we finally recover from the blow, we can clearly see how true His analysis is.
The good news is that we are not without Him. He has poured out His grace upon us, by which He enables us to accomplish all of the tasks, big and shall, He calls us to fulfill. We can engage in the work fully knowing He is before and behind us to assure our progress and success.
We depend on Him as He depended upon His Father for the fulfillment of His will. Jesus found strength through the Spirit to serve God and man by laying down His life and we can too.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Day 14 : Unshakeable Faith


“...but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action.” (Daniel 11:32b RSV)


Faith in the Omnipresent, Omnipotent, Omniscient One can and must move us to take action concerning those enterprizes He calls us to involve ourselves in. Faith, James teaches us, without works is dead (James 2:20, 26). God Himself, as we contemplate Him in His fullness, gives us all of the confidence we will ever need to be embrace His will wholeheartedly.
Hebrews chapter 11 is known as the “Hall of Fame of Faith”. The writer compiled a testimony for us of men and women who, knowing the power and character of their limitless God, laid it all down to follow Him and accomplish His will. He captivated their hearts as they considered His promises and faithfulness, and they bore witness to the God of the impossible through their unshakeable faith. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, by His own declaration. He is not at all diminished. Can God, in His power and character, convince us to trust Him in the same way? He must. And, we must.

Call out to the God of the impossible. Ask Him to intervene in the situations that are most pressing in your life now. Set your faith in Him and speak to your mountain-Jesus said it would be removed, if you believe. Wait upon Him with praise and thanksgiving until the work is fully accomplished.

Consider:
Romans 4:16-22; Hebrews 11; James: 1:1-7

Friday, January 15, 2010

Day 13: God's Limitless Power



It would be really scary in anyone else’s hands-unchallengeable power. Who else but the Almighty could handle it? The closest thing we know on earth to His infinite power is nuclear arms, and just think of how many problems they have caused us.
Satan understood all too well the effects power could exercise over a human being; he put Jesus to the test on this very point. Worship me, He tempted the Lord, and I’ll give you all these kingdoms. Throw yourself down; God will save you. Turn these stones to bread.
Jesus clearly demonstrated to us, through these temptations, why we can trust Him with unbridled power. He refused to abuse His power even when He was personally pressed beyond limit. He stood fast forty days and forty nights. His perfect character prevailed over lust for power.
Governments oppress their citizens. Teachers and employers manipulate their students and employees. Parents, as unthinkable as it is, abuse their own children. But Jesus wouldn’t abuse His power to claim what was rightly His or even to save His own life. What’s best is that He will use His power in our behalf to fulfill His will for our lives.


Because He can and will make it happen, roll your cares over on Him. As you contemplate His creation, thank Him that He has made all things good and beautiful. Praise Him for His salvation and that He holds you, your family, and our church in His hand.

Consider:
Psalm 115:3; Matthew 19:26; Revelation 19:6

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Day 12 : He Knows Us So Well


“For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.” (I John 3:20)


What a know it all! Not a flattering statement by any stretch of the imagination. Why does increased knowledge corrupt us so easily (even knowledge of God)? Satan tempted Eve with the knowledge of good and evil, which would make her like God and she succumbed. What is it about knowledge that, as the Apostle Paul recognized (I Cor. 8:1), “puffs” us up? Is pride inherent in knowledge or does it originate in our own hearts? Unfortunately, the latter seems to be the most likely candidate. People seem to seek knowledge too often, not for knowledge itself or the benefit it can produce, but to feed their own ego. Like Eve, they seem to think they will become like God.
God, the All Knowing One, doesn’t have our problem. He isn’t snared by its lure. Knowledge, complete and infinite knowledge, does not corrupt Him. He uses His knowledge only for good, our good.
Because we don’t feel like we can trust people with intimate information about ourselves, we often hide things from them. We feel uncomfortable or vulnerable, when somebody “has something on us”. Maybe, we just feel ashamed. How does it feel knowing that God knows it all? He even knows what you don’t know about yourself! In anyone else’s hands that kind of knowledge would leave us uneasy, but in His hands it breeds comfort. We trust He will use it well.
Jesus knew the Samaritan women in John 4 had had, although she tried to hide it, five husbands, yet He didn’t condemn her or expose her to ridicule. He set her free and invited her to worship. He invites us too!

In prayer, tell God that you trust Him with your most intimate secrets, that you are comfortable that He knows you inside and out. Because He knows you so well and knows His plans for your life, ask Him to lead you in all your affairs. Thank Him that He confronts you when He detects evil and rewards you when He is pleased with you.

Consider
: Psalm 147:5; John 16:30; 21:17; Acts 1:24; Hebrews 4:13

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Day 11: I Will be There for You


“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” (Isaiah 41:10)




We want to be there for them-the ones we love. We want to see them through their highs and lows, their joys and sorrows, and their victories and struggles. But, we’re limited by space and time. We only have so much energy in a twenty four hour day. We can only be in one place at a time. We feel our confinement more in our day of easy travel and expanding opportunities that uproot people and transplant them, literally, around the globe. We just can’t be where “they” are all the time.
God, on the other hand, knows no barriers. His schedule is never overloaded and we’re never beyond His reach. He’s closer than a phone call away. When we need Him, He makes His presence felt right where we are. As the psalmist put it; “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).
In fact, we sometimes think He’s a bit too close. God can be a bit intrusive, like guests who don’t know they’ve overstayed their visit. We feel like we’re being crowded; we want to hide a while, but there is no escaping the Eternal. The same psalmist, who was overjoyed at God’s presence when he was in trouble, seems to have tired of God when He searched him to the depths of his heart. “You hem me in-behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me....Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence” (Psm. 139:5, 7)?
We have to learn to live with and appreciate God at all times, because His presence is always appropriate, even when it’s uncomfortable. Let God be God. Has He come close to comfort and encourage you or to examine and correct you? Whatever His purpose at this moment, yield. What would life be like without God’s presence?

Give God thanks for those times you benefited from His presence, and ask forgiveness for those moments when you tried to hide. Give yourself to His abiding presence in prayer and rejoice in His continual care for you.

Consider
: Psalm 32:1-7; 139:1-24

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Day 10: Chill a Little


“Be still, and know that I am God...” (Psalm 46:10)



Just be still.
Let the power and presence of God register on your heart a while. Let it sink in for just a moment. That brief glimpse needs to be etched into our consciousness. What we have seen, as we beheld our God, is too important to lose in the shuffle of our overly busy lives.
When we see a starry sky or feel a summer breeze, we stop and take it in; we want to hold on to that moment. We want to remember the wonder that captures our imagination. We want it to be imprinted upon our senses and our memory. How much more will the glory and goodness of our God captivate our hearts and leave its indelible impression upon us, if we let it?
There is no getting around it, if we want to become acquainted with someone we have to take the necessary time with them. We have to give them a chance to open their hearts to us. We can’t do all the talking; we have to be still. Take the time now to know God.

As you detach yourself from all of the hustle and bustle of your life, let your mind become quiet before God. Close your eyes, and as you feel the rays of the sun across on a summer day, ask God to fill you with the warmth of His presence. Tell Him how much you value His visit and company and wait for Him.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Day 9: Power over Power

“In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.” (Isaiah 6:1)



Isaiah sees God in His revealed splendor and majesty and immediately acknowledges His Lordship-His reign over all creation. Amazing and inspiring as it was for Him (“Woe is me! for I am undone..., for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” ) he only saw the half of it. The other half was seen by three wise men hundreds of years later as they gazed upon a baby lying in a manger in the town of Bethlehem. They too acknowledged His Lordship as they brought their gifts and worshipped the King of kings.
Could they be the one and same God, the Lord and Creator of heaven and earth? Both the Apostles John and Paul assure us that they are (John 1:1-14; Philippians 2:5-8). Is it so strange to find the qualities of Lordship and humility in the same being? In our world, governed by unbridled power mongers, perhaps it appears too good to be true. But, they are more than compatible; they are absolutely necessary. Can you imagine the rule of a supreme potentiate driven by pride and arrogance. Why imagine? Look at the tyrannical dictators the world has known over the last one hundred years. To date, they murder and oppress with brutal hatred any who challenge their authority.
Our God, understood by these seemingly contrasting images, is the Lord of lords and King of kings. He demonstrates perfect power over power as He rules with humility, kindness, and goodness for the benefit of all He has created. His Lordship, instead of oppressing, sets men free-really free!



Behold your God. As you meditate on His perfect control over unlimited power, give Him thanks that He always uses it for beneficial and not selfish ends. Ask Him to use His power in your behalf and for those for whom you are praying today.

Consider:
Daniel 4:1-37; Ephesians 3:20; Revelations 4:10-11; 5:12-14

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Day 8: Give Me More than a Glimpse


“O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!” (Isa. 40:9)


It’s no casual gaze that Isaiah calls the people of God to. It’s dangerous; it’s costly! Moses, who got about as close to seeing God as any human being in history, was warned by God Himself, “Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live” (Exodus 33:20). Isaiah had but a brief glimpse and felt “undone” by the experience. You cannot behold the True God and not be unnerved.
Any genuine revelation of God, great or small, will move you to action; it will move you to tears, to shouts and dancing or to humbly bow your head. Standing still-remaining the same- is not an option. Maybe, although we constantly clamor for change, our desire for the status quo is the reason why we prefer our blinders. Beholding God in the beauty of His holiness shakes us to our core.
John exhorted his disciples, “Behold, the Lamb of God, which takes away the sins of the world.” Their gaze upon Jesus, the Son of God, was costly. It led them to leave all behind and follow Him the rest of the days of their lives. How will you be transformed as you fix your sights upon our God? You will, you know?

Ask God, in prayer, to strengthen you to make room in your heart for a fresh revelation of Him as Paul prayed for the Ephesians (Eph. 3:14-20). Tell God that you are ready and willing for life changing transformation leading you to follow Christ without reserve. Hold tight for the ride.

Consider:
I John 1:1-5; Revelation 5:1-6, 11-14; 22:1-5

Week Two: Enhancing Our View


Introduction:

Who is God? Sometimes we make up our own version, a version that is off the mark. What, you ask, is the big deal? So what if my concept of God is a little off? Who can know God fully anyway?
We fail to understand that our comprehension of God will determine how we relate to Him and how He relates to us. God, in the Old Testament, forbad images of Himself to be used in worship because they cannot possibly paint a clear and accurate picture of Him in all His majesty. Instead of helping us to know God, the image clouds our vision of the true God. Jesus, in John 4:23-24, insisted that the true worshippers worship God in spirit and truth. While truth here touches on our approach to God in sincerity, it deals primarily with our concept of who God is. If our concept of God is erroneous, we are not actually worshipping the One, True God. We’re worshipping an idol, made by our own imagination.
If we are seeking to draw close to God, we must make sure that it really is the God we lay claim to. We have established one concrete fact thus far that will help us in our pursuit of God, which is that He is holy. We will take determined steps in this direction to help us embrace the One with whom we have to do. Our vision of Him will prepare the ground of our hearts for the presence and voice of the One whose thoughts and ways are higher, much higher than our own.
Isaiah was brought to his knees when he was allowed to see the High and Lofty One. After he was cleansed and strengthened, he offered himself to God without conditions. “Here I am, send me” is what the vision of God wrought in Isaiah, and it will accomplish the same in us. As we see Him, we will understand what He wants, and realize that by His grace, He is able to fulfill the commission He gives us.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Day 7: In the Presence of the Holy


“Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” (James 4:8-10)


“It is good for me to draw near to the Lord...,” said the psalmist (Psalms 73:28). Those who know God from far off will perish, he had earlier remarked. God is the source of all life and we need to be as close to Him as possible through the blood of Jesus. While living close to the heart of God is essential, it is not necessarily easy for creatures bound in flesh. We must always remember that we are approaching a holy God who expects holiness from those that seek Him.
Let’s face it, we often fall short. We sin and don’t always turn back at His first call. James tells us that there is a time to genuinely induce mourning, weeping, and heaviness in response to our failures and impurities. This is the road to repentance, which leads to confession, and ultimately, confidence in the presence of God where He, and only He, lifts us again to joy. Come close, but carefully, He invites.

The psalmist, in Psalm 139:23-24, prayed, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Muster up courage and, in your own words, tell the Lord that your heart lays open to His examination. Thank Him for His impartial and true findings, exercised, as always, in His tender mercy.

Consider:
Psalm 15:1-5; 24:3-6; Isaiah 1:16-19; I Peter 1:15-16; I Jn. 1:5-10

Friday, January 8, 2010

Day 6: Field of Thought


“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)



Our field of thought is like the Garden of Eden. There is so much good fruit to enjoy, and yet we feel compelled toward the forbidden. One of the reasons God destroyed the world by flood is because man’s imagination ran rampant with evil. God said of men before He flooded the earth, “...every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Gen. 6:5).
God calls us to fix our minds on the good, pure, and praiseworthy, but we dwell on failures, offences, inconsistencies, inappropriate desires, and the things I don’t have and wish I did. The yield of these fields satisfies our temporary hunger, but who do we become after the feast? You are, after all, what you eat. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he...” says the proverb (Proverbs 23:7). Our conversation always gives it away. Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks”. Listen to yourself and you will know what you are thinking.

Ask the Lord to reveal any strongholds in your thought life. Seek His grace to tear down old thought patterns and build new ones that will be pleasing to Him. Praise Him for His intervention and reordering your innermost thinking.

Consider:
Matthew 12:34; Luke 6:45

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Day 5: Spiritual Observation Towers

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” (Psalm 1:1-3)





Constant observation assures intimacy with your subject. The more you look, the more you will see. Real science is based on this principle. Astronomy, for example, uses telescopes in observation towers to view the vastness of the skies. Biology uses microscopes to observe the intricacies of complex mini systems that make up organisms. We learn more by observation, and we can do more. Meditation, the act of rolling a thought over and over in your mind, is, in effect, spiritual observation. It allows you and me to observe the truth of God from different points of view, helping us to grasp it more profoundly and latch on to it more firmly. Our contemplation of God’s word is our first step towards fruitful living.

Make the psalmists prayer your own: “Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live and observe thy word. Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” (Psalm 119:17-18).

Consider: Joshua 1:7-8; I Timothy 4:15