Archive for the ‘Cross’ Category

THE LAMB

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

Day 254

“Follow the Lamb wherever He goes”
Revelation 14:4

The first call we hear in our hearts is when Jesus said, “If a man is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.” He satisfies our deepest needs by reconciling us to the Father. He tells us to come and He will give us rest. If we are willing to take His yoke on us and learn from Him, we will find rest for our souls. His promise is that streams of living water will flow from within us.

The second call we hear from Jesus says, “If any one wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” Now that we are his children, we find maturity by living for Him and others instead of for ourselves. We die to our own self-desires, wants and needs. We die to the world and its lusts. In its place are servanthood, humility and meekness. We become His ambassadors and bear the message of the good news. Then with Paul, we cry, “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.”

Then there is a third call, one for those who know Him intimately and rely on His love. They follow the Lamb wherever He leads them. They are willing to go where they do not want to go, but they go because the Lamb of God leads them. Peter heard this the day Jesus said, “… but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Some 156,000 Christians, 17 an hour, were led where they did not want to go; they were martyred last year.

“Precious in the sight of the Lord
is the death of His saints”
Psalm 116:15

THE GOD OF MUCH MORE – PART 1

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

Day 244

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then . . Romans 5:6-10

Our beginning point in understanding God should always start with God, not ourselves. Our entire makeup, culture, history, education, family, religion and experiences only serve to make our perceptions of God hazy. Our earthly mixture gets in the way of beholding the magnificence and glory of God. We need to study what the scriptures tell us about God to fully grasp Him and His awesome presence among us.

We see the greatest demonstration of God’s love in His actions. “While we were yet in weakness, powerless to help ourselves, at the fitting time Christ died for (in behalf of) the ungodly” [vs 6, Amplified]. This is not about our love. It is about His love and how He saw us in our captivity and bondage. He had compassion for us, realizing we were powerless to do anything to help ourselves.

This is the hardest part for us to accept. We have nature that cries out for self-reliance. Even in the midst of our Christian experience, there is a constant tension in us to be independent, self-sufficient, relying on our own strength. The greatest characteristic of Christian maturity is when we realize and live understanding we are powerless and He Himself, for His own reasons, loved and chose us to be in Him.

“No eye looked with pity on you to do any of these things for you, to have compassion on you . . . Then I passed by you and saw you, and behold you were at the time for love; so I spread My skirt over you and covered your nakedness. I also swore to you and entered into a covenant with you so that you became Mine, declares the Lord God”
Ezekiel 16:5,8

CHRIST REIGNS

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Day 241

“And God placed all things under His feet and appointed Him to be head over everything for the church”
Ephesians 1:22

When we read the first chapter of Job we are permitted a glimpse into the workings of the divine court. Amazingly, we read that Satan comes with the angels presenting themselves to the Lord and holds a conversation with Him. We learn that Satan is subject to God and his actions are limited to what God permits.

Several millenniums later, Christ descends into the underworld to declare His victory over Satan, sin and death and then ascends triumphantly into heaven with captives in His train. Jesus triumphed over principalities and powers, having disarmed them [Ephesians 4:9-10; 2 Corinthians 2:14; Colossians 2:15]. As God the Father had mercy upon the Israelites in their captivity for sin, He now has mercy on all of mankind and through Jesus Christ His Son crushes fallen man’s enemy and makes the way for him to be reconciled.

Christ has set us free. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of God. We have been rescued, delivered, and are now preserved by the finished work of Jesus Christ. We need to declare and walk in this truth. Tradition and unbalance give an undo place to Satan by either building up his presence or downplaying his existence. We are triumphant in Christ Jesus and through Him have been given the power to declare this victory.

“And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your
feet shortly. The grace of our Lord
Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.”
Romans 16:20

GOD HIMSELF WILL PROVIDE

Saturday, October 2nd, 2010

Day 210

“Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and . . . sacrifice him there as a burnt offering”
Genesis 22:2

The story of Abraham provides an interesting study of God’s covenant with man. It is also contains one of the most dramatic events in the entire Bible. Abraham had longed for a son and finally, in his old age, he had Isaac. Long waited for, he was greatly loved. Isaac also was the object of remarkable promises made by God. He was and represented the very promise of God Himself to Abraham.

Some years later, when Isaac was probably a late teenager, God visits Abraham and requires him to sacrifice Isaac as a burnt offering. We know Abraham’s love for Isaac was very deep. We cannot imagine what ran through his mind. Although the recorded account does not give us a glimpse into his inner thoughts, it would not be hard to believe that he wrestled greatly with God on sacrificing his promised son. Yet, the only testimony of Abraham is that he obeyed the Lord.

Abraham hears God in the night and the very next morning he leaves with Isaac to fulfill what God has told him. He tells no one. Three days later he reaches the mountain, leaves the servants behind, and takes Isaac up to the mountain top. When Isaac questions his father about where the sacrifice is, Abraham says God Himself will provide. Finally, at the very moment he has Isaac bound for the sacrifice and he is ready to slay him with the knife, God intervenes stopping him. In the place of Isaac the Lord provided a ram for the sacrifice. Here on the mountain top, Abraham found God as His provider in a depth he never knew before. Long before Abraham was, God saw his need and made provision. Long before we were, God saw our need and made provision.

“The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore” Psalm 121:8

THE CROSS

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Day 198

“As for me, God forbid that I should boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in all the attractive things of the world was killed long ago, and the world’s interest in me is also long dead.” Galatians 6:14

One can only surmise what the Father and Son talked about in heaven when it came time to redeem mankind. The whole thought of God subjecting Himself to human flesh, living 33 years on the earth, and then abject rejection ending in a torturous death is beyond our understanding. Yet, God the Father determined it before time—“But God, following his prearranged plan, let you use the Roman government to nail him to the cross and murder him” Acts 2:23 [LB]. Jesus was the Lamb of God.

We think about the cross more in a historical context or as a passing mention rather than meditating on its meaning to us. We [should] know that we were purchased and set free through Christ’s redemptive work, but, that is not all the cross infers. Paul declares it made him a dead man to the world. That is opposite of how most of us live. That position can only come to us when we have looked into the depth of the cross and understood the price that was paid for our redemption.

Do you want to know the heart of the Father? The cross is the center of God’s plan and it reveals His very character to us. One writer called the cross “love in excess,” probably because our love is so faulty. Actually, the cross is what true love is all about. And when recognize that compelling love, the world suddenly has nothing to offer.

“My constant boast is God. I can never thank you enough!” Psalm 44:8