Archive for March 2015

Give Me Your Heart

burden me with what burdens You.
Make me willing to suffer
for that for which You suffered.

Help me find joy
in what brings You joy
and weep when You weep.

Teach me to despise what You despised
and reject all the lesser things
You rejected.

Give me a passion
for what impassions You.

Give me Your heart,
Lord Jesus.

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

One with Your Creator

imagefrom the devotional book, PICTURES OF GOD

Ephesians 2

Remember who you were and what you were like
before God forgave you and began renewing you.
Remember the sudden change that happened in a moment.
Remember the gradual change that is still going on as you trust Him.
Remember how imperfect and inconsistent you still are.

Look ahead.
Imagine being one with your Creator.
The relationship He intended is complete and constant.
His power has done all its work.
His wisdom has had its way.
His love is satisfied and smiling.
You are one with Him.
The glory of the Living Christ is shining from every corner of your being,
with no shadows and
no hidden places.
You are one with Jesus Christ.
We are all one with Him.
His beautiful creation is complete.

Jesus Christ, the sovereign Word of God,
God’s will in action,
God’s agent in creation,
is recreating us into His own perfect image,
the image of our Creator Himself.
Our future is in Him.
Our destiny is in Him.

I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6, NASB)

Listen and sing:
Hymn: New in Christ
Printed Music & Lyrics

The Christ of Holy Week

from A Christ-centered Year

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:10, NIV)

During Holy Week, Jesus is the Love of the Father,
humbly submitting to death on the cross.

Watch as Jesus burns with zeal for His Father’s house and
cleanses the temple.

Listen as He urges His disciples to
pray boldly,
patiently endure persecution, and
remain faithful.

Breathe the alabaster fragrance of a woman’s lavish worship
in preparation for Jesus’ burial.

Be humbled as He bows to
model servanthood and
washes your feet.

Stand helplessly as He is arrested and led away.
Hear His silence in the face of brutal injustice.
Sense His deep loneliness.
See His agony.
Watch Him die.
Feel the awful stillness as a huge stone seals in His lifeless body.

This is the measure of Jesus’ love for the Father.
This is the measure of His love for us.
This is the new standard for our love for each other:

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35, NASB)

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Here Is Love
Printed Music & Lyrics

What Kind of Father

Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.”  He said, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.”  

So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son; and he split wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.  On the third day Abraham raised his eyes and saw the place from a distance. Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go over there; and we will worship and return to you.”   

Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son, and he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together. Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” And he said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”  Abraham said, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together. 

Then they came to the place of which God had told him; and Abraham built the altar there and arranged the wood, and bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”  

Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son. Abraham called the name of that place The Lord Will Provide, as it is said to this day, “In the mount of the Lord it will be provided.” 

Then the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, and said, “By Myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son, indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” (Genesis 22:1-18, NASB)

To be honest, this story makes me angry. Think about it: What kind of God could even imagine a father having to sacrifice his own son? Does such a God know anything about the love of a parent? Does He have any idea how dear that one is? A man’s son is his own life, his own being. He has flowed out of his deepest, most personal, most passionate love. A man’s son is more precious than his own life. He would rather rip out his own heart with his bare hands than kill him! Honestly, what kind of a God could even entertain such a thought?

And what kind of a father could actually do such a thing…for anyone, under any circumstances? How could a father thoughtfully plan his son’s killing? How could he think it all through and calmly calculate exactly what it would take to make it all happen? How could he patiently pull together the materials, like he was planning a picnic, then pack it all up, take his son, and travel that long journey with his son right there with him. How could smile at him and talk with him along the way, knowing where they were headed and what he would do to him when they got there?

How could he lay all that heavy wood on him and send him trudging up that hill? How could he watch him struggle to carry the instrument of his own death? How could he tie him up, lay him on the wood, look down into his innocent, trusting eyes, and then, ignoring every impulse of his soul, drive that cold, sharp iron into his sensitive, living flesh?

The whole idea of such a sacrifice is absurd anyway! A sacrifice is a life for a life, right? What, in all this wide universe, could ever merit such a sacrifice? Who is important enough or worthy enough that any father should consider, even for a moment, having to murder his own son to save them? It spits in the face of all that is good and right! Tell me, who could possibly be that worth saving? Who?

What kind of God is that?
What kind of father?
What kind of love would ever do such a thing?

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Genesis 22
Printed Music & Lyrics