Wednesday, March 25, 2020

They Must Not Know This Man Called Jesus

Up early.
Praying for loved ones.
Especially for those dear friends and family who do not call Jesus Lord and know Him as friend.
Praying Scripture on their behalf.
Specifically, Ephesians 3:14-19:
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being , so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.
 And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people,  
to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 
and to know this love that surpasses knowledge -- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 

When my children were young they listened to a musical about Easter called Little Tree. My daughter Brietta would often sing a song from that musical with the following lyrics. The character from Little Tree is puzzled and wonders how it is that people could treat Jesus cruelly and mock Him. At last comes this realization:
If they had known Him like I do,
If they had felt His gentle touch
If they'd only seen the love in His eyes.
Well, I hope some day they will, and like me they'll understand
What it is to know this man called Jesus...Jesus...
Oh, they must not know this man called Jesus.
And so today I pray that many might have the power to comprehend, to have knowledge of,

to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. 

I pray that they might know this man called Jesus.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Be Still And Know, Pt. 2

"Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!"
~ Psalm 46 ~

Be still, stop your fighting, cease striving, desist -- and know, recognize, perceive, understand that I am, am God.  

"I, even I, am the Lord,
And besides Me there is no savior."
~ Isaiah 43 ~

Plainly stated by the Lord of hosts: I -- I AM the Lord. There is NO OTHER deliverer, NO OTHER savior. 

And I can say only this. We would do well to remember who He is. We should humbly acknowledge that He is God and not we ourselves.

Oh, and what a God He has proven to be --  a God of power and gentleness, purity and mercy, faithful and never-changing, with arms always open to those who come to Him with a humble heart. 

But oh, the proud He resists. He will not be less than God because the Lord is who He is. He must be true to Himself. He must be God, He must be Holy, He must endure forever and ever.

So He made a way for us who are unholy in our own ways, ever bickering over our own ideas, to be made holy and learn holy ways. Humbly ask Him and He will show you Jesus. 

Once again, He calls: 

Stop fighting! Stop pushing your own selfish ideas!
Cease to strive against one another and against Me!
"BE STILL and PERCEIVE that I am God."

Watch and see. He WILL BE exalted in the earth!

Friday, March 13, 2020

Be Still And Know

Our God is reigning. Be still and know. Be still. Do not panic.

panic - sudden overwhelming fear, with or without cause, that produces hysterical or irrational behavior, and that often spreads quickly through a group of persons or animals.

God's people never need to panic. Indeed, with or without cause, we should not panic. Here is why:

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come and see the works of the LORD, the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields with fire.
"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."
The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.   ~ Psalm 46

I was just praying with my husband yesterday about the trials this world is facing (and indeed the whole of this globe is facing the impact of covid-19) and we were agreeing with scripture: this is the time for the Church to display the perfect peace we have in Him. The world NEEDS to see us demonstrate that we are in perfect peace. Not in perfect panic (a bit of an oxymoron there!) Humanity will naturally find the panic mode; it is as natural as natural can be. But perfect peace is only from God. The world needs peace right now because the world needs God.

Grief and fear are all around. It is true, this is a devastating situation. There is plenty of real cause today, March 13, 2020 for panic, genuine cause. But for Christians there is an even more real, genuine cause for perfect peace.

Should we still take care, have concern, make provision for avoiding sickness and the resulting outcome of a pandemic? Of course we should! But panic does not conflate with pro-active precautions. Panic is not reasonable response. It is irrational behavior. And as Christians we should carry peace in our hearts to offer others in every place we go, every situation we encounter. In the aisles of the grocery store, at the counter of our pharmacies, in the schools and places of business, bring peace.

I am grieving with those who have already been sorely impacted by this pandemic. Yet, strange as it seems, I am also rejoicing in the midst of this because I absolutely believe God is with us. And I also whole-heartedly believe that He is on the move. I am praying that His name will be glorified. How wonderful and confounding. And I want to be a part of that. 

I absolutely do NOT wholly understand all of the WHY for this. I absolutely do NOT wholly understand all of WHAT the outcome will be. But I absolutely DO wholly understand that He works ALL things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

So please - do be wise. Look ahead. Use precaution in thinking of how to care for yourself, the vessel of God, and how to care for everyone around you. Quarantine when prudent, follow known safety procedures, get provisions to use and to generously share. But do so in perfect peace, led by His Holy Spirit to then lead others in finding such peace.

And above all, take time to be still and know that He is God. Forever and always.

May He be glorified. May we honor Him in even this. And may many many people find His peace in the midst of this world of tribulation.

Friday, March 06, 2020

Philippians 2:3 - Such Simple Words, Such Profound Truth

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. ~~ NKJV

Or to put it in other words:

Don't be selfish; don't try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. ~~ NIV

I was glad to read both translations this morning. Well, sort of glad. Because...*sigh* sure sounds like death to me.

More dying to self. More visits to the altar to lay down my life as a sacrifice, to let go of my fleshly desires and dreams.

My, this seems to happen so often when I read the Word. 

Oh, yeah! Duh!!! I almost forgot. It's a daily thing. in...everyday kind of daily. That often. That kind of daily. 

In case you forgot or hadn't heard yet:

Then he [Jesus] said to the crowd, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me."
So this morning I read those opening words, "let nothing", and I sensed it happening. The Bible has a way of piercing asunder. (Wait, that's in there too, isn't it! He told us that Scripture would do that - that it would find us out and reveal our innermost motives. Why am I surprised when it meddles, when it challenges?) 

So there it was. I am to let NOTHING be done out of selfishness or conceit. NO THING. Not one. Nada. 

Gotta hand it to Him. He doesn't mince words. Doesn't give the soft pitch. Throws the hard ball. And that's okay for several reasons undoubtedly, but a few come immediately to mind. 

  • We need to be ready to repent often. So He tells it like it is. And that keeps us humble and in need, right?
  • We realize, "I can't do this, and won't do this, without the Holy Spirit." We need Him. Every hour.
  • We are called to be like Him, to never stop pressing forward and longing for transformation.
  • We realize He has great plans for us. This is His goal for us: to walk in His ways. He doesn't tell us to "do NO THING out of selfishness" because He wants to see us squirm. It is because He is there, ready and able to help us accomplish this very thing!!!
I learned this lesson a long time ago: Whenever I choose death to self, something so incredibly (that means unbelievably) much better than I ever imagined comes into existence.

So here I am, visiting the altar once again, knowing that something much better is in store when I let go of me so that He might have His way.

Sunday, March 01, 2020

A Welcomed Reminder

"Be tender hearted."

How I love a tender heart.

I am absolutely star-struck when I witness a tender heart. I succumb to adulation, am moved to admiration. I am challenged to do better myself. I long to emulate, imitate, and grow up to be like them.

Gentle and meek and humble, it is an aspect of brotherly love with which, when seen in action, I am smitten and enamored.

And God says we are called to this. He faithfully reminded me this very morning:

Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude.  
Don't repay evil for evil. Don't retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and He will bless you for it.

It is His spoken will for us, His desire for His people. This is His heart and He longs for us to be like Him.

"Be tenderhearted."

Soft, malleable, breakable. The opposite of hardhearted.

Let us be moved with compassion for one another, even if insults have come our way, or unfair sentiments or disparaging words. Let us ask God to help us see the heart of those who spoke such words. What brokenness and hurt reside in that brother or sister? How should I pray for them? What words of hope and healing might I be privileged to speak in return not only to them but about them? How might I bless that damaged heart, how might I address the fear or sorrow revealed by such unkind words or nearsighted vision?

We can be vessels of grace, consolation, and comfort.

Tender hearted.