Saturday, February 26, 2011

Jesus, The Bear, Humanity and Divine Forgiveness

"I think it's meaningful but I dont think everyone will understand it. I think the bear represents humanity and what we did and still do to Jesus." Kiyoko Ellison

"He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth." Isaiah 53:7

Had He spoken, His judges would have misunderstood His words. His message didn't fit their view of reality. They couldn't see beyond their personal wants and their earthly existence. From their finite perspective, His meekness looked like weakness. His submission seemed like passivity.

But the Lamb was strong, not weak, when He stood silent before His accusers. He modeled strength when He chose obedience instead of resistance. His meekness demonstrates, not passivity, but a resilient power to endure any trial by trustful surrender to the will of God [the Father]. 

They put Him to death ... or so they thought. In reality, His accusers had no power to take His life. The man they so arrogantly taunted was the eternal King, the Creator of the universe! Nothing would, and nothing could, happen apart from His sovereign will and eternal plan.

That vast eternal plan is infinitely greater than all our human dreams and plots. It far exceeds our finite human comprehension. Yet, wonder of wonders, it includes an unending love relationship between God and those who would trust Him.

For even before the beginning of time, "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8)" ... chose to enter our world ... (and) while living among us as man, chose to submit to those who scornfully accused and tormented their own Maker and Lord, chose to submit to us.

"He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed." Isaiah 53:5

Those words were written centuries before His bloodied, tortured body hung on the cross. Throbbing with pain, He fulfilled that amazing prophecy. "He poured out Himself to death (Isaiah 53:12)", a death that bought our pardon, freed us from bondage to sin and offered up His holy, abundant, never ending life to all who would believe.

Jesus says, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Do you believe that? Are you willing to endure discomfort, deprivation and pain ... in order to share His joy and glory forever?

Paul did. Paul was. "What things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ," he wrote to his precious friends [the church] in Philippi. "I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death...." Philippians 3:7-10

Remember the Lamb's path of triumph: "Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain." John 12:24. Through the fellowship of His suffering, we are "conformed to His death." When we surrender our finite lives into His caring hands, He fills us with His victorious life that will never die.

Behold the reigning Lamb: Crowned the King of Kings, the Lamb now reigns from His heavenly throne ... and receives praise.
"Worthy is the Lamb that was slain 
to receive power and riches and wisdom and might 
and honor and glory and blessing... 
forever and ever. Amen." 

Revelation 5:12

Beloved Lamb,

I choose to share in your death and resurrection. I rejoice in the amazing reality that "I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me." So take my life. Mold me and use me for Your purposes. Let your will, not mine, be done, even when my flesh screams a silent protest to your good and perfect will.

I know that these moments of earthly pain are producing "an eternal weight of glory" that far exceeds both temporary suffering and my limited understanding, even "while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

Thank you, Jesus, my precious Shepherd, glorious King and eternal Lamb...
. Please prompt and enable my heart to worship you every hour forever.

"Blessing and honor and glory and power
Be to Him who sits on the throne,
And to the Lamb, forever and ever!"

Revelation 5:13

Friday, February 25, 2011

Audrey Assad - Show Me

You could plant me like a tree beside a river
You could tangle me in soil and let my roots run wild
And I would blossom like a flower in the desert
But for now just let me cry

You could raise me like a banner in a battle
Put victory like a fire behind my shining eyes
And I would drift like falling snow over the embers
But for now just let me lie

Bind up these broken bones
Mercy bend and breathe me back to life
But not before You show me how to die

Set me like a star before the morning
Like a song that steals the darkness from a world asleep
And I'll illuminate the path You've laid before me
But for now just let me be

Bind up these broken bones
Mercy bend and breathe me back to life
But not before You show me how to die
Oh, not before You show me how to die

So let me go like a leaf upon the water
Let me brave the wild currents flowing to the sea
And I will disappear into a deeper beauty
But for now just stay with me
God, for now just stay with me

Credits :
songwriters: assad, audrey; hart, sarah
© river oaks music company;

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Jesus, The King Of The Fools

Sometimes I want to cry
But my tears stay repressed,
Refusing to move
Despite my protest
Sometimes I want to groan,
Scream words I detest
But my voice, she too fails me
Despite my request
Sometimes I want to sit down
But the world makes me stand
And so I keep marching
Despite my demands
And in these strange moments
Exposed as a fool
I know of just one person
Whom I can turn to
The King of the fools
The King of the weak
The King of the hurting
The King of the meek
The King who identifies
With those in their faults
And lifts their heads up,
The King who exalts
And so I’m exalted,
Yet not through my works
But through my King Jesus
Who heals my hurts
The King of the fools
The King of the weak
The King of the hurting
The King of the meek
And so I have hope
For my King never fails
To hold me through weakness
Till his strength prevails
The King of the saints
The King of the strong
The King of all grace
To whom I belong!
Written by Mick Mooney

Friday, February 11, 2011

Visualize by Oswald Chambers

"Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things." Isaiah 40:26

The people of God in Isaiah’s time had blinded their minds’ ability to see God by looking on the face of idols. But Isaiah made them look up at the heavens; that is, he made them begin to use their power to think and to visualize correctly. If we are children of God, we have a tremendous treasure in nature and will realize that it is holy and sacred. We will see God reaching out to us in every wind that blows, every sunrise and sunset, every cloud in the sky, every flower that blooms, and every leaf that fades, if we will only begin to use our blinded thinking to visualize it.

The real test of spiritual focus is being able to bring your mind and thoughts under control. Is your mind focused on the face of an idol? Is the idol yourself? Is it your work? Is it your idea of what a servant should be, or maybe your experience of salvation and sanctification? If so, then your ability to see God is blinded. You will be powerless when faced with difficulties and will be forced to endure in darkness. If your power to see has been blinded, don’t look back on your own experiences, but look to God. It is God you need. Go beyond yourself and away from the faces of your idols and away from everything else that has been blinding your thinking. Wake up and accept the ridicule that Isaiah gave to his people, and deliberately turn your thoughts and your eyes to God.

One of the reasons for our sense of futility in prayer is that we have lost our power to visualize. We can no longer even imagine putting ourselves deliberately before God. It is actually more important to be broken bread and poured-out wine in the area of intercession than in our personal contact with others. The power of visualization is what God gives a saint so that he can go beyond himself and be firmly placed into relationships he never before experienced.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

True Love's Fountain by Charles Spurgeon

"We love Him because He first loved us."-1 John 4:19

There is no light in the planet but that which proceedeth from the sun; and there is no true love to Jesus in the heart but that which cometh from the Lord Jesus himself. From this overflowing fountain of the infinite love of God, all our love to God must spring. This must ever be a great and certain truth, that we love Him for no other reason than because He first loved us. Our love to Him is the fair offspring of His love to us. Cold admiration, when studying the works of God, anyone may have, but the warmth of love can only be kindled in the heart by God's Spirit. How great the wonder that such as we should ever have been brought to love Jesus at all! How marvellous that when we had rebelled against Him, He should, by a display of such amazing love, seek to draw us back. No! never should we have had a grain of love towards God unless it had been sown in us by the sweet seed of His love to us. Love, then, has for its parent the love of God shed abroad in the heart: but after it is thus divinely born, it must be divinely nourished. Love is an exotic; it is not a plant which will flourish naturally in human soil, it must be watered from above. Love to Jesus is a flower of a delicate nature, and if it received no nourishment but that which could be drawn from the rock of our hearts it would soon wither. As love comes from heaven, so it must feed on heavenly bread. It cannot exist in the wilderness unless it be fed by manna from on high. Love must feed on love. The very soul and life of our love to God is His love to us.

"I love thee, Lord, but with no love of mine,
For I have none to give;
I love thee, Lord; but all the love is thine,
For by thy love I live.
I am as nothing, and rejoice to be
Emptied, and lost, and swallowed up in thee."

The Selflessness of Christ: An Example of Serving Others by Kathleen Trissel

"Now when Jesus heard about John, He withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded place by Himself; and when the people heard of this, they followed Him on foot from the cities. When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick" (Matthew 14:13-14, NASB).

Jesus just learned that John the Baptist was beheaded. John was his forerunner, the one who blazed the trail ahead of Jesus. Jesus, as God, undoubtedly had to know this was going to happen, but in his humanity his heart was grief stricken. After hearing about John, Jesus withdrew to a secluded place to be by himself. He needed time alone, but it was not to be right then.

The heart of Jesus was full of compassion when the crowds gathered around him. In his humanity, it would have been so easy to just send them away, and tell them, "I'm too tired. I don't feel well. I've just lost my friend and forerunner." Jesus, however, was so selfless that he put aside his own needs to reach out to the needs of others.

It is a sharp contrast when I look at the disciples and when I look at myself. The impatience of the disciples showed when they told Jesus to send them away, but Jesus intended to feed five thousand, plus women and children. It was a lesson to the disciples in crucifying the fleshly and selfish desires long enough to be sensitive to the needs of others. It is the same lesson for me. It's so easy to walk away from someone who is in need, or be in a hurry to get home to relax in comfort. 

If you enjoy being alone, as I do, this is particularly difficult. I believe the keyword in this passage is that Jesus felt compassion. What is compassion? At a Brennan Manning seminar I attended, the compassion of Jesus was described as gut wrenching and having your heart torn for another. Am I willing to be detoured away from my intended plans? Do I get angry when I'm detoured? Am I willing to take time to be with another? Am I willing to have my heart torn for another, as Jesus did for you and me? Am I selfish or selfless? These are tough questions, but worth giving some serious thought.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


John 20: 1-23, 24-29, 30-31

 24But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.

25The other disciples therefore said unto him, "We have seen the LORD." But he said unto them, "Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe."

26And after eight days again His disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, "Peace be unto you."

27Then saith He to Thomas, "Reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side: and be not faithless, but believing."

28And Thomas answered and said unto Him, "My LORD and my God."

29Jesus saith unto him, "Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."