Archive for December 2016

Jesus’ Life Is God’s Promise

from the book, ONE WITH OUR FATHER 

John 20 

Praise be to the God and Father of
our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us in the heavenly realms
with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
(Ephesians 1:3, NIV)

Look at Jesus Christ:
human, yet divine;
completely dependent on the Father,
yet always sufficient in Him;
weak, yet strong;
suffering, yet joyful;
pressured, yet at peace;
having died, yet risen to boundless, endless life.

The life of Christ is the Father’s promise to you.
As He lived, you can live here and now.
As He lives, you will live forever.

Imagine Jesus Christ the first of a
whole new race of human beings,
a race completely free from
the curse of sin, death, and the fall,
holy and glorious as He is,
children of our Father in the fullest sense.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Jesus’ Life Is All a Promise
Recording
Printed Music & Lyrics

Preoccupied with Love

Do everything in love (1 Corinthians 16:14, NIV). 

When your mind wanders, where does it go? What do you think about in your spare moments – when driving, eating, waiting, or doing undemanding tasks? What are your daydreams?

During one particular vacation, I was in the same room with a number of family members, all near and dear to me. Yet I caught myself being so self-absorbed that my heart and mind were not awake to them and their concerns. If they had felt problems or pain or confusion, I would not have sensed it. I would not have reached out to them to offer a listening heart.

The Lord has graciously showed me that I waste too much of my time and thought on myself.

I want to be preoccupied with loving other people. What could I accomplish if I let the Lord’s love dream through me?

I want to be awake to the kaleidoscope of concerns around me, ready to be Christ’s presence however I can.

I want to be more Christ-like. I’m tired of being insensitive in the little things I say and in the little things I don’t say. I want to have the mind and heart of Christ.

How does this happen, after a lifetime of being self-centered? Resolutions and guilt trips don’t work. But I’m finding the answer is much simpler. Whenever I realize that I stand in Christ’s presence, my heart is drawn to Him in prayer. And as I turn to Him, He soon brings other people to mind. When I pray, He frees me from bondage to myself and into the freedom of love. And I can pray anytime.

Sitting in church on a Sunday morning, the Lord prompts me to pray for the needs around me:

  • to my right, a family numb from years of dealing with a delinquent son;
  • behind me, an elderly man apparently about to lose his wife;
  • to my left, a young person (remember those years?);
  • in front, the mother of two young children facing a painful divorce.

In traffic, passing coworkers in the office, or in my home, He is ready to share His mind and His heart with me. He just calls me to turn to Him more often as I live in His presence.

Lord, draw me to You.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: My Mind Is Yours
Recording
Printed Music & Lyrics

Christmas Is the Story of a Star

Christmas is the story of a Star.
The wise men had studied the stars for years, but suddenly,
One Star
caused them to leave home
on a long journey,
traveling many difficult months.
That One Star
was a sign from heaven,
and they followed.

One Star
was their only guide
all the way from a distant country
through so much desert
and so many midnights.
One Star
led them to
a simple house
in the tiny village of
far-away Bethlehem.

One Star.

Christmas is the story of a Star.
The story reminds us that
God never leaves us alone.
Even in the blackest night,
He always sends
One Star.
And our Star is
Jesus.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: The March of the Three Wise Men
Recording
Printed Music & Lyrics

JESUS THE LIGHT Devotional Tapestry

JESUS THE LIGHT Devotional Tapestry

Devotional Tapestries are short recordings designed to draw your heart and mind to the Living God. Each includes a devotional reading over instrumental music, leading into a hymn.

Listen to JESUS THE LIGHT Devotional Tapestry.

Printed devotional & hymn

More Devotional Tapestries

 

Prayer Is Simply Talking to God

It is personal conversation with Him.

Who can pray?

Absolutely anyone.
God only asks that we trust Him –
that we believe
He is listening and
will respond to us.

How do I pray?

Simply talk to Him, from your heart.
You can pray in silence or out loud,
sitting, kneeling, or in any position.

How long should I pray?

Prayers can be as short as a single sentence, or
as long as you need them to be.

Where should I pray?

God is always with you and is always listening.
Pray anywhere – at home, at work, or
in the privacy of your car as you drive.
Pray alone or with others.

What should I talk to God about?

Whatever is on your mind.
Thank Him for His many wonderful gifts.
Share your problems and ask for His help.
Pray for others – for your family, your friends,
your nation, your world . . . or
for the person ahead of you in line.

God is always with you.
He always listens when you pray.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Simple Faith
Recording
Printed Music & Lyrics

Christmas Is Past, Present, and Future

Christmas is more than just a celebration of a past event,
however wonderful or important.
The God who came to us as an infant still comes to us
personally,
gently,
quietly,
now as then.
He still comes to us as marvelous, mysterious Life,
drawing us toward Himself.

He is still the Light in every dark place,
the Star shining from the bottomless blackness,
the fresh glow in every dingy stable.

He still invites the magi and the shepherds,
the highest and lowest of people.
He still comes in stunning humility,
yet in unearthly glory.
He is still awe-inspiring in
His transcendence and
His simplicity.

The God who came
is still coming.

And He is coming again.
As before, He will come
unexpectedly,
after a seemingly endless wait, and
at just the right time.
But this time, He will come,
not quietly,
but with sound of a trumpet;
not simply,
but with all of heaven’s angels;
not in a dark corner,
but where every eye will see Him.
He will come,
not as a helpless infant,
but as sovereign Lord and Judge of all.

The God who came
is coming and
will come again
in love,
to save completely all who will receive Him.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: God Is Here among Us
Recording
Printed Music & Lyrics

Marriage Supper of the Lamb

from the devotional book, PICTURES OF GOD

Read Revelation 19:7-9

In New Testament times, marriages actually began with the betrothal. For a time, the two individuals were considered husband and wife, even though they didn’t live together. They were fully obligated to be faithful to each other. The wedding itself took place after the betrothal period and began with a procession to the bride’s house. The wedding party then returned to the house of the groom for the marriage feast.

In the same way, we the Church are engaged to Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2). We are eagerly awaiting our wedding day, when the Groom will return for His bride and take us with Him to heaven for the marriage feast, which will go on through all eternity.

To imagine what all that will be like, visualize a perfect marriage between Jesus and His people – an eternal union full of intimacy, love, joy, and all the very best of life. Forever we will celebrate together with a grand marriage feast.

Scriptures throughout the Old and New Testaments help us anticipate this marriage supper of the Lamb:

  • Isaiah’s prophecy regarding the Lord’s lavish banquet for all peoples (Isaiah 25:6-10a)
  • The Lord’s Supper (Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:17-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26)
  • The parable of the marriage feast (Luke 14:15-24)
  • The Emmaus meal (Luke 24:13-35)
  • Breakfast with His disciples (John 21)

To our surprise, however, Revelation refers to this feast yet gives us no details about it. But elsewhere scripture gives us glimpses:

  • We will feast on all the best nourishment of life. God will remove forever all death, all crying, and all our shame. Our long wait for the fullness of God will finally be over (Isaiah 25:6-10a).
  • People will gather from all over the earth and feast together (Luke 13:29).
  • Christ will have fully cleansed His bride and made her holy, spotless, and beautiful, fully adorned for her Husband (Ephesians 5:25-27; Revelation 21:1-4).

What will it be like when this long-awaited occasion is not just metaphor, but full reality?

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Come, Our Lord!
Recording
Printed Music & Lyrics

Pray for Those You Pass

Pray for each other (James 5:16, NIV).

My daily walks are my prayer time. It’s a wonderful, beautiful time alone with the Lord.

But even then, foolish, selfish daydreams invade my thoughts. I don’t want my mind or my time spent that way, so I asked the Lord to help me.

He answered my prayer. He challenged me to look into the faces of the people I pass and pray for them.

When I do, I find that my thoughts are turned away from myself and toward those around me. The love of Christ is stirred in me.

Prayer is a wonderful privilege. It is there throughout the day, always available to realign our hearts and minds with Christ and His love. Make prayer a constant part of your life.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Ever Standing in Your Presence
Recording
Printed Music & Lyrics

Christmas Is a Story of Love

Christmas is a story of Love.
For hundreds of years,
Love had whispered,
“I am coming!
I am coming to be with you,
to stay with you forever!”

It was Love that celebrated that night
in the skies over Bethlehem with
angels,
music, and
shouts of praise.

Love was the shining star
high in the sky,
sent to draw people from far away
to come and worship the Baby.

And Love has entered our hearts.
We can feel it drawing us
to love and worship God.
We can see it gathering us together
to celebrate His coming.
And we can sense it reaching out this Christmas
to share with the needy all around us.

Christmas is a story of Love,
Love that has come to us,
Love that has brightened our lives;
and Love is
Jesus.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Love Has Come!
Recording
Printed Music & Lyrics

Never Be Thirsty Again

from the book, ONE WITH OUR FATHER 

John 7:37-39

Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (John 7:37-39, NASB)

As our bodies thirst for water,
our spirits thirst for God.
We drink from other streams,
other wells,
other cisterns
but always go away unsatisfied.

God satisfies our spirit
with Himself.
We need never be thirsty again.
He becomes a spring of Living Water
always within us,
always fresh, and
always flowing.

God gives Himself freely to anyone who will
come,
ask, and
trust.

Father, Your Word to us is a
treasure of life and blessing.
And You have given us Your own Spirit to
make it a reality in our lives.
We frail, blind, and wayward creatures
can know and live the truth
as Christ lived the truth.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: In Your Spirit
Recording
Printed Music & Lyrics

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