Archive for February 2016

Only to Your Glory

from the book, ONE WITH OUR FATHER 

John 12:1-33

Father, pour me out as a fragrance,
completely,
irrecoverably.

Plant me as a seed,
dead to myself and my own future,
alive only to grow into Your greater purpose.
Otherwise, I remain
small,
single, and
alone.

From me and my dying
gain fruit,
gain glory for Yourself.
O Father, this world so needs to see Your glory!
We need to see the light of all You are.
We need to fully grasp
Your greatness,
Your goodness, and
Your constant, personal presence.
With Jesus, may Your glory be
my constant focus and
my deepest desire.

From this point on, help me to think of myself
only in You,
only as part of You and
all You are doing.
May thoughts of my success and my glory be
dead,
buried, and
gone forever.

With Jesus, Father,
now and forever
may I think and speak and be only
in You,
from You,
through You, and
to You.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Make My Life a Holy Fragrance
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Deliver Us from All Evil

from the book, ONE WITH OUR FATHER 

John 13:18-30

When Jesus had said this, He became troubled in spirit, and testified and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray Me.” (John 13:21, NASB)

Judas was one of the chosen twelve,
with a special relationship with Jesus.
Yet he became one of the
most heinous traitors of our entire race.
He met a horrific end.

To us, he is a reminder to keep looking to God.
Don’t let your heart and mind wander into
bitterness or preoccupation with lesser things.

Above all else,
guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it. (Proverbs 4:23, NIV)

That is why Jesus teaches us to daily ask the Father,
Lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one. (Matthew 6:13, NIV)

Without God’s grace, sin is
a debt we cannot pay and
a trap we cannot avoid.
We are opposed and surrounded by
spiritual forces much stronger than us.
We are weak, and
our enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion
looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8, NIV)

But the one who is in you is greater than
the one who is in the world. (1 John 4:4, NIV)
Deliverance is always ours
as we trust our Heavenly Father who is
always able,
always with us, and
always in us.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Keep Us from All Evil
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Foot Washing

John 13:4-17

What would you have felt as you watched Jesus, the Son of God,
get up from this important meal,
take off His outer clothing,
wrap a towel around His waist,
pour water into a basin,
get down on His knees, bend low, and
one by one wash His disciples’ absolutely-filthy feet?
How would you have felt when He got to you and began washing your feet?

If a picture is worth a thousand words,
a living example is beyond words.
Instead of lecturing them,
He gave them an unforgettable experience complete with
sight,
touch, and
deep emotional memories.
Because He loved them,
He wanted love to take root in their daily lives.
He wanted them to grasp how absolutely vital it is that each and every one of us
humbly serve one another.

Look around at the situation in which God has placed you.
Consider the resources He has lent you.
How does He want you to wash feet?

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Here at Your Feet, Lord
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Love Is Not Blind

“While the prodigal was a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. 

“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 

“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’” (Luke 15:20-24, NIV)

Love is not blind.
Love sees what no one else sees.
Others see sin and ugliness.
Love sees one unspeakably precious.
Love sees its treasure,
its child.

Your Father calls you to share His love,
to live the same love that
reached out and drew you in.
Your Father calls you to
share His heart.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Our Father’s Burning Heart
Recording
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He Is Our Shepherd, We Are His Sheep

from the devotional book, PICTURES OF GOD

Read Psalm 100

Considering a shepherd’s responsibilities, it’s no wonder God calls Himself our Shepherd. What a beautiful picture of Him! He constantly cares for our every need. He takes personal responsibility for every aspect of our safety and well-being. It’s humble and thankless work, but He does it eagerly, carefully, thoroughly. He is both strong and gentle, rugged and patient.

Kings and other leaders were to serve as good shepherds of God’s people. Shepherding was the standard against which God measured them.

Israel had a long tradition of shepherds. The father of the Jewish people, Abraham, had flocks, as did his son, Isaac. Isaac’s son, Jacob, worked as a shepherd from his earliest days. Jacob’s sons, the patriarchs of the tribes of Israel, were shepherds as well.

Moses spent forty years shepherding the flocks of his father-in-law, Jethro, through a vast wilderness. This was God’s preparation for him to lead his people, Israel, for forty years through the same wilderness.

God’s preparation for David, the greatest king of Israel, was shepherding as well. More on him to come.

When God’s only-begotten Son arrived among us after centuries of promises, who were the only ones who got a special invitation?

Shepherds living out in the fields…keeping watch over their flocks at night. (Luke 2:8, NIV)

There’s another major reason that God considers Himself our shepherd and calls His leaders to be good shepherds. We, God’s people, are so much like sheep. We are utterly dependent on Him for existence, for provision, for welfare and survival. We are constantly, deeply needy. We live our entire existence in the presence and care of the Good Shepherd. We are prone to wander away from our Shepherd’s protection. And when we do, we are easy prey. We are defenseless.

God is your shepherd. Stay close to Him.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: The Father’s Gifts
Recording
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Wait

God waits.
Because He gave us the freedom to choose,
because He patiently interweaves
our human choices with
His eternal purposes,
because He perfectly selects the right time to act,
God waits.

We wait on God
because He waits,
because He is all-wise and
we are not,
because He is all-loving and
we are not,
because He is sovereign and
we are unspeakably small.

We wait on God,
assured that He always does what is
exactly right at
exactly the right time.
Always.

Loving Father, we wait on You.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Thank You for Your Perfect Will
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This Is the One We Follow

Look at Jesus hanging on the cross.
See Him as He truly was:
the blood,
the nakedness,
the pain wrenching His body.
See Him humbled,
repulsive,
dying,
abandoned.

This is your God.
This is His passionate love.
This is our Leader,
our Shepherd,
the One we imitate.
This is our goal,
our ambition,
our Way,
our Truth,
our Life.
This is the standard that guides
every day and
every decision.

This is the way we deny ourselves.
This is the cross we carry.
This is the One we follow.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Christ Crucified
Recording
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The Son’s Focus

from the book, ONE WITH OUR FATHER 

John 12:23-32

Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him. 

“Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name.

“Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” (John 12:23-28, 31-32, NASB)

Jesus knew His time had come. He was about to be deserted by His closest friends, mocked and humiliated by His enemies, tortured by soldiers for their amusement, condemned to death by His own people, engulfed in separation from His Father with whom He had enjoyed an eternity of intimate fellowship, and executed by the most brutal method known.

Facing all this, what thoughts filled His mind and heart?

  • He was eagerly anticipating His return to His Father (John 13:1, 3). That was the goal ahead, the true destination toward which He pressed. That was the subject of His conversation with Moses and Elijah at His transfiguration (Luke 9:30-31). That was, at least in part, “the joy set before Him” that made all His sacrifice worthwhile (Hebrews 12:2, NASB).
  • His focus, His concern, His deepest prayer were not His personal comfort, but that His Father would glorify Himself through all that was about to happen (John 12:23-28; 17:1-5).
  • Looking ahead to these events, He didn’t see His own defeat. He saw all the powers of evil judged, condemned, and driven out of this world forever. He saw Himself high and lifted up, and our entire race streaming to Him for salvation (John 12:31-32).

As He faced His hour of trial, He savored the joy of returning to His beloved Father. He longed for the Father to be glorified. He saw the fulfillment of the Father’s purposes.

Facing immense difficulties, His joy, His desire, His focus was His Father.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Glorify Your Name
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A Hearing Heart

The Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream at night; and God said, “Ask what you wish Me to give you.”

Solomon said…“Give Your servant an understanding heart.” (1 Kings 3:5-6, 9, NASB)

Solomon had succeeded his father, David, as king of a united Israel. David’s reign had been the golden age for the country, and now the young Solomon was stepping into his rather intimidating shoes.

God appeared to Solomon in a dream and asked him what he wanted from Him for this  huge new responsibility. Solomon was acutely aware of how unprepared he was for the task:

“I am but a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. Your servant is in the midst of Your people which You have chosen, a great people who are too many to be numbered or counted. So give Your servant an understanding heart.” (1 Kings 3:7-9, NASB)

Solomon didn’t ask for wealth or success, health or long life. Literally, he asked for a “listening” heart, a heart that hears and obeys.

Father, that is what I want. I want a heart that hears You every time You speak, a heart that eagerly listens and follows wherever You lead. Truth is so little valued in our world. People shout whatever they want us to believe, usually to advance their own petty self-interests.

Father, You always speak the truth, in perfect wisdom and perfect love. When You speak, I want to hear every word. I want to listen and obey.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Here I Am
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Our Living Hope

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (1 Peter 1:3, NASB)

Since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3, NASB)

When you can’t believe that God could forgive you,
look to Jesus.
He is your assurance of complete forgiveness. (1 John 1:9)
He is the final, perfect sacrifice for all your sins. (John 1:29; Hebrews 9:11-14; 10:14)

When holy living seems impossible,
look to Jesus.
God has not abandoned you to your weakness.
Jesus Christ is your holiness. (Hebrews 4:14-16)
As you simply trust Him,
He is everything you need to lead a godly life. (2 Peter 1:3)

When the future seems uncertain,
look to Jesus.
He is your future.
He is your destiny.
God’s sure, unchangeable purpose is to
make you like Him. (Ephesians 1:3-5; 1 John 3:1-2)

Jesus Christ is the completion of
all the Father has ever wanted for you.
He is all the fulfillment of all God’s eternal promises. (2 Corinthians 1:20)
He is your living hope,
now and
forever. (1 Peter 1:3)

Listen and sing:
Hymn: The Glories of Christ
Recording
Printed Music & Lyrics

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