Archive for February 2017

Ferocious Love

Transcendent Father, unseen God,
You longed for us to know You.
You let us touch You with our senses
in creation and
at Mt. Sinai,
through the tabernacle and
through Your prophets.
But all the while You promised to share Yourself fully through
a person who was to come,
a man filled with Your own Spirit.
This specially Anointed One, this Messiah, would
live among us and
rule over us.
His Kingdom would extend
through every nation and
through all time.
He would bring all the blessings You had ever promised.

As the centuries passed, Your promises of this Messiah became
increasingly detailed and vivid.
We longed for His coming.

But when He arrived, we didn’t recognize Him.
He was not what we expected.
You are Almighty God, and
Messiah was to be Your full revelation of Yourself.
We expected Him to be
a commanding leader,
a powerful warrior,
an unstoppable conqueror.
We thought He would be like a roaring lion that
no one would dare challenge.
We thought He would be fearfully holy and
bring fiery judgment to all the wicked.

But instead, He arrived as the weakest and lowliest of all human creatures –
a helpless infant born of
an unmarried peasant girl.
He wasn’t a king – not what we considered a king.
There wasn’t anything regal about Him.
He was a rural laborer with an accent to match.
He wasn’t a mighty warrior.
He was a gentle healer,
a teacher with little formal education.
He didn’t live in a palace.
He was a homeless wanderer.
His holiness wasn’t fearful or awe-inspiring.
He befriended sinners, whom respectable people avoided.
He socialized with them and received them warmly.
The only people He condemned were
the ones we considered the most religious.
He scolded them for their pride and hypocrisy.

This Messiah didn’t prowl and roar like a lion.
In the end, He died like a lamb,
silent, and

He gave us a living picture of You,
but You were not who we expected.
We expected to experience Your
all-conquering power.
Instead, we experienced Your
all-conquering love.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: All-conquering Love
Printed Music & Lyrics

from Prepare Yourself for Worship

Prepare for Ash Wednesday

Father, we worry and complain about so many things,
but we rarely give even a passing thought to
what is saddest and most destructive
in our entire world:
our sin and
our unrepentant hearts.

Today, Lord, make us conscious of our sin and
its terrible price.
We have turned our back on You, our Creator,
the only Source of all that is good.
We have dethroned You
from our lives and
from our race.
In Your place, we have enthroned our
short-lived selves.
The results have been predictable:
suffering, and

Father, we own our sin.
It is the one thing in this entire world that is
truly our own.
We face and accept our physical death
as the inevitable result of our sin.
We bow to You, face down,
excusing nothing,
claiming nothing,
clinging to nothing but Your mercy.
We confess and repent, Father.
Have mercy on us.
O God, have mercy!

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Ash Wednesday Hymn
Printed Music & Lyrics

Fruitful Living

from the devotional book, PICTURES OF GOD

Read Matthew 7:15-20; 12:33-35; John 15:9-17

Our Father is like any other vinedresser: he wants fruit from His vine. What fruit does God want from you?

As you live in the Vine, Jesus Christ, His Spirit lives in you. As you are led by the Spirit of Christ, you think and speak and live like Christ. You bear the same fruit that the Father prized so highly from Jesus Christ.

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

Read Matthew 7:15-20 and 12:33-35. A good tree produces good fruit. As you remain as a branch in Jesus Christ, His Spirit will grow His character in your life.

Notice what is listed first among the fruits of the Spirit of Christ: The fruit of the Spirit is love (Galatians 5:22, NASB). As Jesus taught His disciples for the final time before His crucifixion, notice what He repeatedly emphasized:

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)

This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you (John 15:12, NASB)

This I command you, that you love one another (John 15:17, NASB).

The Spirit of Christ unites us with the Father, Son, and Spirit. We grow to breathe the love and unity that makes them one. We love as the Father loves the Son. We love as the Son loves the Father and freely, joyfully, completely submits to Him.

As we share life and love with the Father, Son, and Spirit, we grow to love as they love. I am finding this true in my own experience. I feel disinclined to talk badly about a person my Father loves. As I love Him, how can I not love someone who is so dear to Him? By my words or deeds, how can I hurt one about whom He cares so deeply?

This love, the love of Christ, is one of the precious fruits that grow in us as we abide in the Vine.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: I Look to You, and You Are Love
Printed Music & Lyrics

The Full Armor of God

Ephesians 6:10-17 

Father, in this evil world we must struggle with evil –
evil that threatens us from outside and tempts us from within.
Whether this evil approaches us subtly or brazenly,
its purpose is always the same.
Jesus said it always comes
to steal and kill and destroy. (John 10:10, NASB)

When Jesus came into this world,
He came armed with the Spirit of God: 

The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him,
The spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The spirit of counsel and strength,
The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
Righteousness will be the belt about His loins,
And faithfulness the belt about His waist. (Isaiah 11:3, 5, NASB)

This same Spirit arms us as well. 

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but
against the rulers, against the powers,
against the world forces of this darkness,
against the spiritual forces of wickedness in heavenly places.
(Ephesians 6:12, NASB)

Though Jesus was as human as we are,
He overcame evil in this world completely, and
He arms us to overcome it completely as well.
He urges us to be strong in Him and in His power,
not our own.
We must put on the full armor He has provided.

Put on the belt of truth.
Since we are children of Almighty God,
truth and reality are on our side, not Satan’s.
Thus His primary weapon is deceit.
Protect yourself with the truth.
Prepare yourself for battle with the truth.
Know the truth, speak the truth, and live the truth.

Protect your vital organs with the breastplate of righteousness.
Your ultimate safety in this war is being on God’s side.
A mind, heart, and lifestyle that aren’t right with Him
leave us vulnerable to the attack of evil.

Strap your feet with the gospel of peace.
How can we march forward to do God’s work over rough, uneven ground?
We are prepared and protected by the gospel of Jesus Christ,
the good news of peace in Him.
That wonderful message we bring to others
also keeps us steady.

All the above are static pieces of armor,
fixed to protect various parts of our body.
But make sure you have the shield of faith.
You will need to wield it, to raise it against various
fears, problems, and concerns that Satan will sling your way.
When a concern arises, raise the shield of faith:
“Lord, we are concerned about this need.
We bring it to You and trust You to help us with it.”

How do we protect the most vital part of our bodies, our head?
That is where our thoughts originate, and
the head guides the rest of the body.
So put on the helmet of salvation.
It protects us with the confidence that
God’s salvation has rescued us completely
from sin, evil, and death.
Thus the helmet of salvation is not only protective,
but it is also a decorative helmet of victory.
It reminds us and shows the world that
the battle has already been won.

Finally, we also protect ourselves with
the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
God has already proclaimed our final victory!
All who believe are safe in Him, and
the war against evil will soon be over and won. 

Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
(1 Corinthians 15:57, NASB)

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Soldiers of Christ, Arise
Printed Music & Lyrics

from Prepare Yourself for Worship

This Time Is Yours

Father, in these moments of worship, help me to be
fully present,
fully with You,
fully Yours.
May my life of complete consecration to You
begin right now.
You hear my heart as I
speak the total surrender that
I long to be true.

You know that no matter how pure my intentions,
I can only live one moment at a time.
This is the only time that is truly mine, and
Lord, I give it to You.
Make my desires,
my thoughts,
my energies
all Yours,
beginning right now.

Speak – I am listening.
Command – I wait to obey.
Lead – I gladly follow.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Holy in You
Printed Music & Lyrics

BREATH OF GOD Devotional Tapestry

BREATH OF GOD 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 BREATH OF GOD Devotional Tapestry.

Printed hymn & devotional
More Devotional Tapestries

Seeing the Unseen

He persevered because he saw him who is invisible. (Hebrews 11:27, NIV)

Take faith as the light for your path. All that we hear and read is lifeless compared to the glory of knowing God personally by faith. We spend too much time pondering a copy when we should be gazing on the Original.

Fixing our eyes on God leads to a fearlessness and a firmness of mind. Seeing God lifts us above the fear and hope of all that is not Him. God is sovereign in justice and infinite in mercy. He only sends what is good for us. What should we fear? What should we hope for but Him?

Our part is to focus on Almighty God and walk in His presence, as seeing Him who is unseen.

by Brother Lawrence and Ken Bible

Listen and sing:
Hymn: We Fix Our Eyes on Jesus Christ
Printed Music & Lyrics

from Prepare Yourself for Worship

Prepare Your Body for Worship

Father, help me prepare my body for worship.
I am a physical being, and
the state of my body affects
my mood and
my alertness.

I will do my best to get a good night’s sleep.
Bless my efforts, Lord.
I will do my best to eat the right foods.
Bless my efforts,
to Your glory.

All this is part of offering my body as a sacrifice to You,

Guide and bless me as
I prepare my body for worship.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Nothing Between
Printed Music & Lyrics


Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. (Philippians 2:3, NIV)

Pride focuses thought, energy, and attention on me –
a poor,
helpless creature –
rather than on our
eternal Father.

Pride steals glory and praise from God.
It distracts those He would draw to himself.

Pride is a lie.
It cloaks me in
darkness and
rather than in
love, and

Pride focuses inward rather than
upward and
It makes my world smaller.

Pride perverts,
blinds, and

Merciful Jesus, save me from the foolishness of pride.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: I Fix My Thoughts on You
Printed Music & Lyrics

As We Live in Christ

As we live in Christ,
we share His relationship with the Father.
We share their love
for each other and
for every human being.

As we live in Christ,
we share His bond of love with
all those He loves and
all those who love Him.
As we become one with Him,
we become one with all those who are His.
All our relationships now go through Him.
He is the unseen partner in each one.
We learn to love others because
He loves them and
we love Him.

As we live in Christ,
we grow to love as He loves,
show compassion as He shows compassion,
be patient as He is patient,
absorb wrongs done to us as He absorbed them,
forgive as He forgave.
In loving all those around us, He is
our master,
our model,
our standard,
our source, and
our goal.

Wives, husbands,
children, parents,
bosses, employees,
friends, enemies –
as we live in Christ,
we love each one with the
persistent love of Christ.

As we trust Christ,
we live in Him,
and love is the very breath of His heart.
As we trust Christ,
He fills our beings with His own loving Spirit.
His Spirit helps us love everyone
in Christ,
for Christ,
like Christ,
as loving Christ Himself.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Live and Love and Grow in Christ
Printed Music & Lyrics