Tag Archive for life of Christ

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

A Fascinating Person

from the book, ONE WITH OUR FATHER 

John 2

We hear a lot about Jesus from various sources. But have you ever been personally curious about Him? Have you ever wanted to decide for yourself? Just get a Bible and read one of the gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John.

You’ll find Him a truly unique, fascinating individual. He was always His own person, but in an unselfconscious way. Talk about “marching to the beat of a different drummer,” He lived with an open line to God His Father. Jesus listened to Him and talked to Him freely. He loved Him and lived to please Him. He only said what the Father told Him to say, only did what the Father led and enabled Him to do. Jesus made Himself totally dependent on His Father. He trusted Him completely and constantly.

As a result, He was amazing. He was radical. He was confrontive and fearless. He was natural. He was gentle.

He taught grand truths by telling stories – simple stories drawn from common, everyday life.

The needs of people moved Him to compassion. And when He was moved, He always did something to meet the need. He taught. He healed. He fed. He gave of Himself and whatever He had.

His ministry lasted only three short years. There was so much to do, and He was always active, always about His Father’s work. Yet He never seemed hurried or tense. I guess that’s one of the things I admire most about Him. While He was single-minded and focused, He never bristled at interruptions. He was always open to people and their concerns.

Jesus came to show us what God our Father is like and how He feels about us. The picture is a beautiful one.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Knowing the Father in the Son
Printed Music & Lyrics

Grace and Truth

John 1:14-18

When God describes Himself to us, with all His infinite qualities,
what does He highlight as most important?
He says that His essence is this:
Grace and truth—
that is, unfailing love and absolute dependability.

When we look at Jesus and His human life among us,
what do we see?
Grace and truth—
unfailing love and absolute dependability.

Jesus was and is always good, always compassionate, always gracious.
His mercy is never strained.
It never gets tired.
It is never pushed too far.
Even as they tortured and killed Jesus, He forgave them.

Jesus was truth.
Every word was true.
Every action was true.
We could absolutely depend on
everything He was, everything He said, and everything He did.

Jesus is unfailing love and absolute dependability.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Jesus, Full of Truth and Grace
Printed Music & Lyrics

Son of Man

Hear these words from Daniel 7:

In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon,
Daniel had a dream, and visions passed through his mind
as he was lying on his bed.
He wrote down the substance of his dream. 

“As I looked,
thrones were set in place,
and the Ancient of Days took his seat.
His clothing was white as snow;
the hair of his head was white like wool.
His throne was flaming with fire,
and its wheels were all ablaze.
A river of fire was flowing,
coming out from before him.
Thousands upon thousands attended him;
ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. 

“In my vision at night I looked,
and there before me was one like a son of man,
coming with the clouds of heaven.
He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence.
He was given authority, glory and sovereign power;
all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away,
and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.”
(vv.1, 9-10, 13-14, NIV)

Daniel 7 records Daniel’s dream, his visions of the future. Four fantastic beasts arise from the sea, each representing a different kingdom that would come and exercise authority for awhile, then pass away.

As the fourth beast is ruling and raging boastfully, the scene changes. Now Daniel sees a vision of the throne room of the universe. God, the Ancient of Days, is ruling in unearthly splendor, surrounded by vast multitudes.

Then Daniel witnesses a stunning, almost unbelievable sight. Into this highest, holiest heaven, a human being, a “son of man,” arrives on the clouds and is led into the presence of the Ancient of Days. He is given glory, sovereign authority, and eternal power over all people on earth.

Imagine: a “son of man”, a human being, a member of our rebellious race, is gloriously escorted into God’s holy presence and given sovereign, universal authority that will never pass away.

While Jesus walked this earth, what was His favorite designation for Himself? It was “Son of Man”. This eternal, glorious, divine Being, who had been in the Father’s presence from the beginning, chose to refer to Himself as the “Son of Man”. He gladly embraced His humanity. He willingly shared our suffering and our curse of death, knowing that when He returned to the Father’s presence, He would bring a countless train of redeemed human beings with Him.

When He is finally crowned, we will be there. We will reign with Him and share His magnificence and His glory. Never again will anyone say, “I am only human”. Our curse will be gone forever.

Sovereign Savior,
thank You for all that we are becoming in Jesus Christ!

Listen and sing:
Hymn: See All That Human Can Be
Printed Music & Lyrics

The Way He Speaks

One of the things that intrigues me about Jesus is the way He talked to people, especially individuals, one on one. He talked with lawyers and criminals, religious leaders and prostitutes, fishermen, tax collectors, soldiers, and children.  He spoke with women, even when it was against the social conventions of His day.

He always spoke to these people with personal respect–respect for the independence and dignity of the individual.

He never pushed or steam-rolled anybody. He spoke with understanding, consideration, and patience. He took time. He provided reason. And He always spoke face-to-face, not looking over their shoulders or talking over their heads. He didn’t “hammer” or “preach at” individuals. He was never harsh or condemning…at least not with the humble.

He was not repulsed by the unrespectable people of His day. He was attracted to them, genuinely drawn to them…not to a class of people, but to individual persons. He had an almost organic attraction to them.

He loved them just where they were, as they were, but He cared too much to abandon them there. He drew them on, drew them in, toward the simple truth and toward a life-giving trust in himself.

That’s what He did for me. I remember when I first trusted Him–not just mentally believed in Him, but genuinely, personally trusted Him from my heart. I was not drawn in so much by what He was saying to me. What gripped me was His reality–the reality of His person. I knew He was there in front of me. I felt He was looking right into my eyes, into my heart. And though He was holy God and I was a very unholy sinner, the look was love–nothing but love.

That’s what got me. I trusted Him. I bowed to Him and confessed my sin, and life has not been the same since.

I’m not talking about religion. I’m not talking about church, or beliefs, or cultural preference, or emotional experiences. I’m talking about Jesus Christ. I’m talking about knowing Him on a personal basis and trusting Him as God.

Don’t take my word for it. You can know Him yourself. If you want to know Him, or know Him better, He will reveal Himself to You. He will come to You personally, one-on-one.

When He comes, when He speaks to you, listen. Whatever He says, His voice is always only love.

Listen…and sing if you want:
Hymn: When Jesus Speaks
Printed Music & Lyrics


As I read the gospels, it seems that most of Jesus’ miracles, most of His teaching opportunities, most of His chances to display His Father’s words and works, arrived as interruptions. As He went about His day, He encountered people–all kinds of people: hungry people, sick people, seeking people, devious people, desperate people. People were His priority. And let’s face it: people are the main source of interruptions. Deal with people, dare to respond to people, and you’ll have interruptions.

We resent interruptions because they intrude on our agenda. Jesus had no agenda but the Father’s. Thus He didn’t resent interruptions because He received them as from His Father. He welcomed them as opportunities to express God’s grace and truth in the lives of needy people. He dove into such opportunities with all His heart and soul.

We flinch at interruptions because they are unexpected and unsought. They blind-side us and drag us where we’re not prepared to go. Jesus was completely and comfortably dependent on His Father, so He was never threatened by the unexpected.

I deeply desire God’s moment-by-moment leading. He is teaching me that such leading inevitably involves what I have called “interruptions”. His wisdom, His leadership, His opportunities for service are often unexpected and unsought. They are intrusions on my well-planned agenda. Of course, there are times when the agenda is from Him and the interruption is not. I can’t and shouldn’t chase every rabbit, and I’ll need His discernment to tell them apart. But very often, interruptions only threaten my agenda, not His.

Over my years of serving the Lord, I’ve noticed two things about interruptions:

1. As a writer, many of my most meaningful pieces arrived as interruptions. While I was intently working on something else, He gifted me with something better.

2. When He interrupts my carefully-planned schedule, nothing is ever lost. Nothing. God never fights against His own work. I have no reason to be afraid and protective. He often surprises me with increased productivity, and all His work gets done in a natural, unhurried, creatively-satisfying way.

Join with me in learning to be more flexible, more trusting, more responsive to God’s leading. As older writers put it, be as responsive to the Spirit as a feather on a breeze. No matter what type of work we do, as Christians, people are our priority, and people bring interruptions. But God’s interruptions are always opportunities. Welcome them! After all, for blind and ignorant creatures like us, such interruptions are inherent in the privilege of serving the transcendent God. His thoughts and ways are far above are own.

He wants to make your life more fruitful in unexpected ways. Are you willing to let Him?

Passionate about His Father

What made Jesus so different from everyone else?
Why did He think differently?
Why did He act differently?
Why did He talk differently?

Jesus was different because of His relationship with His Father.
He single-mindedly focused on His Father and His Father’s concerns.
He wasn’t self-centered.
He didn’t care about money or career or reputation or social pressure.
He kept His mind and His heart always tuned to His Father’s voice.
He let His Father guide everything He said and everything He did.

No matter what sacrifice was required,
Jesus’ goal,
His prayer,
His passion
were always the Father’s will.

Listen…and sing if you want:
Hymn: Focus
Printed Music & Lyrics

Are You God or Not?

When John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?” 

Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.” (Matthew 11:2-6, NASB)

I read this passage of scripture and identify with John the Baptist. Often I’ve sat imprisoned by need, wondering if You were going to be the Savior I needed right then.

Jesus, You surprise us at times. You do not work as we expect or as we hope. You perplex and disturb us.

But when we stand back and watch what You do, it is always love. It is always redemption and healing and restoration.

Thank You, Lord. Help us to keep trusting You through our ignorance and pain.

Ministry by Numbers: Jesus’ Example

God has been teaching me not to measure my ministry by numbers. I find His perfect example of that in Jesus.

Read the gospel of John, and focus on what Jesus says about His relationship with His Father. You’ll be fascinated.

His only goal, His only ambition was to follow the Father.

“I do not seek my own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” (John 5:30, NASB)

His food, His joy, His constant purpose was to please the Father.

“My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.”

“He who sent Me has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.” (John 4:34; 8:29, NASB)

His only resource, His only wisdom, strength, and adequacy was the Father. He simply said what the Father told Him to say and did what the Father showed Him to do. Nothing else. Nothing more, and nothing less.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son does in like manner.”

“I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me.”

“The word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.” (John 5:19; 8:28; 14:24, NASB)

As I read the gospels, I get the impression that of all the thousands that crowded around Jesus and witnessed His miracles, relatively few believed to the point of obedience. He never seemed concerned about numerical results. He measured His ministry only by obedience to the Father.

The Father is calling me to minister as Jesus did: to seek always and only to obey and please and rely completely on Him. For in the end, our fruitfulness depends entirely on our connection to Christ:

“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5, NASB)


We often picture the earthly Jesus as a kind of superman, with unlimited power flowing from His fingertips. But listen to what the Bible says about Him:

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but empted Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant. (Philippians 2:5-7, NASB).

Listen to what Jesus says about Himself:

“I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does…By myself I can do nothing.” (John 5:19, 30, NIV)

“These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.” (John 14:24, NIV)

It wasn’t Jesus’ own power that made Him what He was. He had emptied Himself of all His power and glory. Jesus made Himself dependent on His Father, constantly and completely, for every word and every action. When He spoke or acted, it was at His Father’s will and by His Father’s direct provision.

Jesus was what He was by faith. His strength lay not in unique abilities but in His relationship with the Father. He was the embodiment of the Father’s will for us expressed in 2 Corinthians 12:9,

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (NIV)

Jesus made himself an open vessel for the Father, holy and yielded. His weakness was His great strength. His emptiness was the secret to His constant sufficiency. His power was His complete and constant dependence on the Father.

Jesus wants to share that relationship with us. He wants us to have the same relationship with the Father that He enjoys. He longs for us to participate in the deep love that flows unhindered among the Father, Son, and Spirit:

“I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him…We will come to him and make our home with him.” (John 14:20-21, 23, NIV)

Study the life of Jesus. As you see how He lived, all through faith, the hunger will grow in you to share His beautiful, simple relationship with the Father. The Father, the Son, and the Spirit all deeply desire to share that relationship with you.