Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Apart from Christ, there is nothing beautiful in me. Apart from Christ, there is nothing worthy of praise in me. Apart from Christ, I am fallen in every way!
This dying world does not need more of me. This dying world needs more of Jesus Christ. When I reflect myself I do not love, for true love points others to what they need most deeply—namely, Jesus Christ.
Moments of abiding joy are moments of self-forgetfulness. They are moments when I stop living and allow Christ to live through me by His Spirit. They are moments when my eyes are fixed on Jesus Christ not myself.
Jesus glorify Yourself in me, because I cannot. Jesus help me lose myself in bringing You praise. Lord help me worship You not me.
Monday, April 25, 2011
Jesus does not call us to do things for Him. He calls us to abide in Him. To know Him. To love Him. When we seek the Lord our hearts will be transformed and our outward actions will increasingly emulate His. He will transform us from the inside out.
"Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." -John 15:4-5
We must remain in relationship with Christ. The moment we step away from Him and pursue religion, we are unable to bear fruit, for fruit is born by Christ alone.
Therefore, in seeking to be more loving, more joyful, more peaceful, more patient, gentler, kinder, and more self-controlled only one thing is certain: failure. It is futile to pursue fruit we cannot cultivate! We instead need to pursue Jesus Christ, the Fruit-Bearer.
May we fix our eyes on Jesus Christ and allow the Spirit to stir our affections for Him. May we rest in our inadequacy apart from Him and our sufficiency in Him.
Monday, April 18, 2011
36 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”
40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
People who do not know the darkness in my heart may look at my life and assume I am a "good" person. NO! I am not a good person! The good you see in me is Jesus Christ. Apart from Him I am incredibly broken and wayward. I cannot even imagine the life I would now be living if I did not know Jesus. It is His grace and love which restrains me from pursing the treasures and pleasures of this world.
Countless times I have rejected Christ. Countless times I have defamed His glory. Countless times I have rebelled against Him. My love and passion for Jesus Christ stem from deep awareness of my own failings. Truly I have been forgiven much!
While I was still sinning against Him, Christ died for me. He who knew no sin became sin for me so that in Him I might become the righteousness of God! Who am I to know Christ? Who am I to know freedom and healing in Him? Who am I to know perfect love? Who am I to know unending joy? Who am I to have the hope of Heaven because I have the Son?
I pour out my life for Christ not to be more spiritual or to be a better person. I pour out my life for Christ because I know how incredibly, incredibly, incredibly unworthy I am to know Him! In response to His free gift of life and forgiveness my heart fills with indescribable gratitude. He gave everything for me; the least I can do is give everything for Him!
"You're With Us" by Hillsong United
Laying Your majesty aside
You reached out in love to show me life
Lifted from darkness into light
King for a slave
Trading Your righteousness for shame
Despite all my pride and foolish ways
Caught in Your infinite embrace
Find myself here on my knees again
Caught up in grace like an avalanche
Nothing compares to this love, love, love
Burning in my heart
Sunday, April 10, 2011
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." -John 15:5When our eyes are fixed on Christ and when we are abiding in relationship with Him, Jesus bears fruit in our lives to the glory of God. Consequently, the enemy does not want our eyes fixed on Jesus. He does not want us abiding in relationship with Christ...
The enemy will do everything in his power to draw our eyes from Jesus. He will do everything to make us trust in our own strength. He will do everything to make us believe we are sufficient in ourselves. He will do everything to keep us from God's grace in Jesus Christ.
To accomplish the described ends I believe the enemy deploys three tactics:
First, the enemy uses insecurity, comparison, shame and worry to draw our eyes from Jesus to ourselves. If we are in any of the described states we are not trusting fully in the Gospel and our eyes are not fully fixed on our Savior: If we feel insecure we are no longer finding security in Jesus and allowing His power to be perfected in our weakness. If we are comparing ourselves we are no longer turning to Christ for our sense of worth. If we are living in shame we are no longer finding our identity in Christ's righteousness. If we are worrying about the future we are no longer resting in God's promises, trusting He will provide and work for our good in all things.
If the enemy is not feeding us lies about our inadequacy, he is feeding us lies about our sufficiency. He convinces us we do not need Jesus in our day to day lives. He convinces us we can advance the Kingdom of God in our power. He convinces us prayer is a waste of time. He convinces us we do not need to petition the Spirit of Christ to move; we can move forth in our own power. He persuades us we can produce holiness and we can break free from captivity. He tempts us to trust in our righteousness rather than Christ's.
Finally, I believe the enemy pulls us from relationship with Christ by tempting us to find satisfaction in the world. He tempts us to build broken cisterns that cannot hold water. He tempts us to believe everything is not a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus Christ. He tempts us to trade Jesus for the fleeting pleasures and treasures of this life.
Oh Spirit fix our eyes on Jesus. We desperately need Your power. We are weak and prone to wander. We are easily deceived. Oh Jesus help us abide in relationship with You. Reveal Your surpassing greatness. Help us find satisfaction in You. Perfect Your power in our weakness. Help us decrease that You might increase! Bear fruit in our lives as we abide in relationship with You.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Jesus Christ was God in the flesh. He was tempted in every way and yet He was without sin. He was, therefore, the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all men.
Luke 22:41-42 describes Jesus praying to the Father before His crucifixion: "He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 'Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.' An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground" (Luke 22:41-42).
Jesus knew He was to be crucified. He knew He was to carry the weight of the world's sin. He knew He was to experience the wrath of God and experience Hell on behalf of sinners. In great anguish He pleads for His cup to be taken from Him, but it cannot be removed. He is the only hope for sinners, and knowing this to be true, Christ chooses to submit His will to the will of the Father. This is anything but an easy surrender.
10 Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.
11 After the suffering of his soul,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.
Ultimately, because of Christ's submission to the will of the Father, Jesus justifies many. His obedience was not in vain! Christ's obedience, moreover, provides an example for His followers. As Christians we are called to radical obedience to Jesus. We are called to submit our wills wholly and completely to His.
"Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me." -Luke 9:23
Such a call is not an easy call. It is a call to death and suffering. Like Jesus, however, we can come before the throne of God and express our distress. We can tell Him we do not want to deny ourselves and carry our cross, and we can petition the Spirit of Christ to carry out what we cannot.
Christ's obedience was not in vain, and neither is ours! In dying to ourselves and allowing Christ to live through us our lives bear fruit to the glory of God. This world is not our home. Our lives are but a mist that appear for a little while and then vanish. Our purpose on this earth is to know Christ and make His name known.
In submitting His will to the will of the Father, Christ justified many. In the same way, in submitting our will to the will of Christ, our lives can be used to justify many! What a beautiful and sweet moment it will be to see the fruit of our obedience in Heaven! What a beautiful and sweet moment it will be to cast our crowns at the feet of our Savior!
Let us look to Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith. Let us follow His example in the power of His Spirit. Let us die to ourselves in this life and submit our will to Christ's that others might also be justified by faith.