Anticipation

Moses said, “I pray You, show me Your glory!”
And He said, “I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you…”.
But He said, “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!”(Exodus 33:18-20, NASB)

In my office is a poster of a large whale’s tail. The tail alone is seen above the water’s surface, with the other 99% of the whale being out of sight.

I’ve enjoyed this poster for years. I’ve owned it since before I had a good place to hang it.

What draws me to it, I believe, is its promise. What I see is impressive. But what I don’t see intrigues me more. The whale’s tale suggests a bigger being, a completely different type of being, a deeper life, a greater realm. What I see is a promise of what I don’t see, and it fuels my longing to see and know more.

It reminds me of God. What I know of Him is spectacular, but everything I learn promises even more that I have not yet seen or experienced, that I cannot yet fully grasp. Hear God’s promise through Paul:

Now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. (1 Corinthians 13:12, NASB)

God has poured out Himself, His own breath, His own life force, on all of us who simply trust Him. He has lavished on us His power, wisdom, and love, through the Holy Spirit of His glorious Son. But as great as this Gift is, it is only a down-payment, a deposit, a promise of His full gift of Himself to His people:

Having also believed, you were sealed in [Christ] with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14, NASB. See also 2 Corinthians 1:22; 5:5)

Consider the greatness of God’s gift of His Spirit. Right here and now He can be more and wants to be more than you have let Him be. But also, let this great gift fuel your anticipation for the greater gift that is yet to come: our complete and constant union with God.

Like children,
we don’t appreciate
our Father’s greatest gifts because
they are so far beyond our tiny experience.
He blesses us
in ways and
in realms that are
higher than we can dream.
We think “today”.
He gives forever.
We think “this physical life”.
He enriches our eternal reality.

Hymn: Longing for Home

All One in Christ

Matthew 12:46-50; Mark 3:31-35; Luke 8:19-21;
Ephesians 1:9-10; 2:1-22; Hebrews 2:11; Revelation 5:11-14

Since God is our Father,
Jesus Christ is our Brother, and
all believers are one in Him.
Celebrate this wonderful truth!
 The tune is familiar.

Recording
Printed Music

Dead in sin, so lost and hopeless,
We were slaves to flesh and fear.
You, O God, so rich in mercy,
Raised us up and brought us near.

Refrain:
One in Christ, our holy Brother,
One in Christ, Your human Son!
Earth and heaven breathe one Spirit.
Now in Christ we all are one.

One with You, O God my Father,
Every moment face-to-face!
You, Most High, beyond all knowing,
Are my joy and resting place.

Every family, every nation,
Every heart with love aflame
Join to share in You forever.
Earth and heaven sing one Name!

by Ken Bible, © 2020 LNWhymns.com.

Holy and Faithful

To the holy and faithful brothers in Christ. (Colossians 1:2, NIV)

It’s easy to get distracted by the human side of the church and its people. We sometimes grow impatient with each other’s weaknesses and immaturities.

But notice Paul’s letters. The Christians in his day were surely as flawed and human as today. But he gives a different view of them. He always writes with such joy and deep affection for them.

Just read the openings to the letters. My favorite is the Colossians 1:2, To the holy and faithful brothers in Christ.

I wonder: if I had known those people, would I have described them this way?

As I think of those around me, do I focus on their human failings and limitations, or do I appreciate them for the persons they are becoming in Christ?

Even now, in their imperfections, our holy and faithful brothers and sisters strengthen us in ways we take for granted. Their testimonies, their struggles, their failures and victories—even their mere presence with us—bolster our faith and keep pointing us week by week toward Christ. Through their lives, we see God in action.

Remember that those around us are destined to become kings and priests and honored children of God. If you want an exciting thought, picture your Christian friends as fulfilled in Christ. Imagine them without their fears, insecurities, emotional scars, and human weaknesses. See them as having become all God’s love designed them to be and all His transforming power is able to make them. Rather moving, isn’t it? This will soon be reality. We have God’s Word on it.

Value your brothers and sisters now. Bear with them now. Encourage them, lift them up, forgive, and be patient with them. Love them the way Christ loves you.

Father, if we would look
beyond and through
all the people who have blessed our lives,
we would see You.
Every good gift comes from You.
Thank You, Father!

Hymn: I Thank the Lord for You

For You I Pray God’s Peace

This benediction prays
God’s peace
for those around us.

Recording
Printed Music

For you I pray God’s peace-
That deep and constant rest
That knows that He is always working for our best.
Receive His peace.

For you I pray God’s joy-
The music of a faith
That finds delight in serving Him and sings His praise.
Receive His joy.

May His grace
And His love
And His Spirit be within you.
Amen.

by Ken Bible, © 2002 LNWhymns.com.

Hebrews, Chapters 1-6

Fresh Views of Timeless Truths

For the next two weeks, reflect on Hebrews, Chapters 1-6 (the rest of the book of Hebrews will follow). This free pdf consists of scripture, prayers, reflections, and 13 new hymns for public and personal worship.

It is part of the new series, Fresh Views of Timeless Truth, focused reflections on key topics.

LINKS:
Free pdf of Hebrews, Chapters 1-6
Complete list of available volumes in Fresh Views of Timeless Truths

Filled to All the Fullness of God

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…that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:16-17, 19, NIV)

Ephesians 3:14-19 is a beautiful passage of scripture that has long intrigued me, especially that last phrase. The concept is grand, but what does it really mean to be filled with “all the fullness of God”?

In Christ, all the fullness of God dwells bodily, and you have been made full and complete in Him. (Colossians 2:9-10, para.)

What could it mean to me—to you—in practical, daily terms to be completely filled with God himself? We know that He is always present, not only with us, but in us, in an intimate and holy way.

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you…?(1 Corinthians 6:19, NIV)

You have experienced that presence. What if we learned to look to Him, to trust Him more simply and constantly, to realize His presence and rest in it completely and always?

Imagine the wonder of hearing Him speak to you in wisdom and love. Imagine the wonder of knowing His will.

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21, NIV)

When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.(John 16:13, NIV)

Imagine Him speaking His words from your lips.

Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit. (Mark 13:11, NIV)

Imagine dreaming His dreams, envisioning what He has planned for His people.

I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. (Joel 2:28, NIV)

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”—but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.(1 Corinthians 2:9-10, NIV)

Imagine being sufficient for every challenge, empowered by God’s own strength.

“Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the Lord Almighty.(Zechariah 4:6, NIV)

God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8, NIV)

Imagine the pleasure of having His own character growing and developing within you, naturally, daily.

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23, NIV)

Consider what it would be like to be free forever from the bondage of your sin.

Now that you have been set free from sin…the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. (Romans 6:22, NIV)

And imagine being wrapped in His perfect peace.

The mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. (Romans 8:6, NIV)

These blessings are not someday and far away. They are all in Christ, and He is present. These blessings are not vague and abstract. They are practical and life-oriented. They are for talking, thinking, reacting, and doing.

They are not by struggle or superior intellect, not reserved for the elite, not beyond anyone’s grasp. They are available for all who will daily, simply trust the God who is with us right now.

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

Almighty Holy Father,
You do not abandon us to
our puny self-improvement schemes and
our stumbling efforts.
Your gift to each of us and
all of us is
the mighty life of Jesus Christ,
accessible by simple faith.

Hymn: Holy in Me

You Are Lord

Psalm 46:1-3; 56:3; Philippians 2:9-11

Through troubled, uncertain times,
rest in our
unchanging,
sovereign God.
He turns all things to good!

Recording
Printed Music

Through bitter injustice
You are Lord.
With darkness all around us
You are Lord.

Refrain:
Every knee will bow,
Every tongue confess.
We are resting here
On Your faithfulness.
You are Lord.
You are Lord.

Through struggle and sorrow
You are Lord.
When pain and suffering threaten,
You are Lord.

When death looms before us,
You are Lord.
Though all the world may crumble,
You are Lord.

by Ken Bible, © 2001, 2020 LNWhymns.com.

I Press Ahead toward Christ

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14, NASB)

Success and failure are just words,
spoken from our small-minded ignorance.
Money and respect are simply mediums of human exchange.
They can only give what other humans have to give,
creatures who share our own deep neediness.
Glory and gold are too shallow to provide
what we truly need and crave.
Physical comfort is an imposter,
pretending to be lasting peace.
In the end, death shows them all for what they are:
empty delusions.

Jesus Christ is the eternal, holy, glorious God
made fully human.
In Him, my Father, I can
know You and
love You and
become like You.
In Him all my goals,
all my expectations,
all life’s possibilities are raised and reset.
In Him I am becoming more than I ever dreamed I could be.
Jesus Christ is my desire.
I trust HIM.
I press ahead toward HIM.

For in Him, Father,
I become one with You
completely and forever,
in all Your holiness and love.

The prize held out before us is
not material blessings—
not in this world and
not in the next.
The prize God offers is
Himself,
with all the
life and
love
that are in Him.

Hymn: The Upward Call

Psalm 24

“Psalm 24” helps us
focus our eyes on
our Almighty God –
Creator God (v.1),
Holy God (vv.2-3), and
God enthroned above all (v.4).

Recording
Printed Music

Yours is the world, Creator Lord.
Riches unseen and unexplored,
All that our hungry hearts would own –
All flow from You, and You alone.

You are the good our souls desire,
You all the good that You require.
But who presumes on such a grace?
Who dares approach You face-to-face?

One with clean hands and pure in heart,
Holy and true and set apart.
Who can approach You, Holy One?
The soul that comes in Christ Your Son.

Open the doors and let Him in!
Let joyful shouts of praise begin!
Come, glorious King, we lift the gates!
Come, Jesus Christ, Your throne awaits!

by Ken Bible, © 2018 LNWhymns.com.

The Simplicity of Prayer

Fresh Views of Timeless Truths

For the next two weeks, explore how easy and natural it is to talk to God with The Simplicity of Prayer. This free pdf download is a tapestry of prayers, meditations, and new hymns for public and personal worship.

This volume in the Fresh Views of Timeless Truth series provides an additional feature: links to a complete recording of the entire volume – prayers, meditations, and hymns, with instrumental background music.

LINKS:
Free pdf of The Simplicity of Prayer
Complete list of available volumes in Fresh Views of Timeless Truths