Blog Archive

Monday, June 30, 2008

Putting Off Flesh

"This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised ... And the uncircumcised male child, who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant." (Genesis 17:10,14 NKJV)

In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith. (Colossians 2:11-12 NKJV)

Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5:24 NKJV)

Judaism has variations as extreme as Christianity’s, yet one defining act unites Jews: circumcision. False Christians may hide among the diversity of people within the church, but those who are Christ’s are united by the defining act of crucifying the flesh with its passions and desires. Christ’s covenant with us is that He willingly sacrificed His flesh to give us His life, and we willingly sacrifice our flesh—Self, which cannot satisfy us—and give Him our lives. In His life we find pleasure and fullness of joy.

Father, thank You for identifying us in Your Son Jesus. Give us strength to daily take up the cross and crucify our desires. Let us have no will but Yours, no delight but in You.

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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Perspective in Time

Then [the LORD] said to Abram: "Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. ... But in the fourth generation they shall return here." (Genesis 15:13,16 NKJV)

"In the house of My Father are many dwelling places. ... I am going to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I am coming again, and I will receive you to Myself, so that where I am you also shall be." (John 14:2-3 ALT)

Mankind moves through time like a train on a single track, at a single speed. God inhabits time like a flock of eagles—able to see it from all places, directions, heights. His prophecies do not foretell the future He plans, but share a glimpse of what He already sees as completed, from His unlimited perspective. We know certainly that He depicts what is—like a sister who phones from our destination to describe it. And the description cannot match the waiting experience.

Lord of Eternity, the Ancient of Days, Your good Word is faithful and true. Thank You for permitting a glimpse of what lies ahead. Thank You for waiting there for us, even as You walk with us along the way.

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Separate Links, Still Connected

Now when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed ... and went in pursuit ... and he and his servants attacked them. ... So he brought back ... his brother Lot and his goods, as well as the women and the people. (Genesis 14:14-16 NKJV)

Blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved.
(Romans 11:25-26 NKJV)

"How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" ... It was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed. (Revelation 6:10-11 NKJV)

God does not fully separate His people: Abraham and Lot, Israel and Gentiles, fellow servants and brethren—the day comes when we find ourselves reconnected to those we thought separate. In these last days, Jews and Christians increasingly find themselves jointly persecuted. War is ugly, and though we would rather not get involved, it has a way of finding us (whether U.S. or believers). If we do not bless those whom God has chosen, we will suffer with those who curse them.

Abba, Father, thank You for choosing to make not just Israel but also Christ-lovers Your own children. Though we remain separated for now, please unite our hearts in love for YHWH, and for each other.

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Friday, June 27, 2008

A Great Name

"I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." (Genesis 12:2-3 NKJV)

There shall be no more curse ... and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. (Revelation 22:3-4 NKJV)

Abraham did not exalt himself. The Lord made Abraham’s name great, and made his faith great—faith by which he attained righteousness, demonstrated in sacrifice and obedience. All who attain righteousness by faith are called children of Abraham, and we inherit a name which God makes great. It is the name of our own God upon us, our identity now in Him.

In the days when the prophecies of Revelation are fulfilled, there is room for only one name on our foreheads.

YHWH our God, You are merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth. We are undeserving of Your great name upon us. Please conform us to Your likeness.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Exalted Name

"Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves." ... So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. (Genesis 11:4,8 NKJV)

Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens; Praise Him in the heights! ... For His name alone is exalted; His glory is above the earth and heaven. (Psalm 148:1,13 NKJV)

Self-esteem seems a worthy priority. But it goes beyond valuing ourselves as worthy of love, respect, "certain unalienable rights." We want others to show us that they esteem us—to exalt us. We are indeed of great value to God, and therefore to each other. All people must be given love, respect, and fundamental needs. But honor for one another must follow due honor and esteem to Him who alone is worthy of praise and worship.

Oh LORD my God, You are awesome, almighty, abundant in goodness and holiness, Adonai, Alpha and Omega. Only Your goodness in us makes us worthy to worship and praise You. Put it in our hearts to exalt You alone.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Life x3

"You shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. Surely for your lifeblood I will demand a reckoning ... Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God He made man." (Genesis 9:4-6 NKJV)

Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
(Hebrews 9:22 ESV)

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. (Romans 12:1 NKJV)

Blood is sacred, for it contains life and life is sacred. God requires a high penalty for harming another’s life, whether by murder or with fleeting hatred. My life—or rather, my death—is the cost of violating the lives of others by my sin.

The shed blood of Jesus paid my death penalty. It is only now, when I truly have my life, that I may present it to Him in sacrifice, a reasonable thanks offering. Once I lay my life down, He returns it to me. Receiving life a third time blesses it beyond measure.

Almighty God, El Shaddai, thank You for the life to draw breath, for eternal life, for the joy of surrendered life. Thank You for Your Spirit’s breath upon us. Teach us to breathe deeply.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Survival Sailing

Then the LORD said to Noah, "Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation." ... So He destroyed all living things which were on the face of the ground ... Only Noah and those who were with him in the ark remained alive. (Genesis 7:1,23 NKJV)

"Do not be afraid, Paul ... indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you." (Acts 27:24 NKJV)

For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. (2 Peter 3:5-7 NKJV)

The flood Noah and those with him survived is a picture of the flood of fire yet to come. Those who cut the lifeboats free and stayed with Paul (shunning Plan B) survived the storm and shipwreck. Even if people to whom Noah preached believed a flood was coming, they could not adequately prepare to survive it.

Our preparation to survive the soon-to-come flood of fire is to unite ourselves and sail with Jesus—the Word made flesh who preserves us even now.

Almighty God, You are righteous and merciful in the midst of judgment. You offer shelter and safety in the shadow of Your wings by drawing us closely to You. Please unite our hearts to You and to each other.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Walking with God

But Noah found grace [chen] in the eyes of the LORD. ... Noah was a just man, [blameless] in his generations. Noah walked with God.
(Genesis 6:8-9 NKJV)

For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16 NKJV)

The Hebrew word chen means favor, acceptance, even preference. Grace is often defined as unmerited favor, or getting what we don’t deserve (in contrast with mercy, not getting what we do deserve). Why does God show preferential treatment to one sinner over another? Only because we are "in Christ"—and we walk with Him. Likewise, our great High Priest, Jesus the Son of God, has walked in our shoes, and sympathizes with our weaknesses.

Merciful Father, please draw our utterly undeserving hearts to walk intimately with Your precious Son. As He was willing to know our weaknesses, let us be willing to know His suffering, His passion, and die to those weaknesses.

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Finding the Unseen

And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away. (Genesis 5:22-24 NIV)

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. ... By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death ... for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:1,5-6 NKJV)

Faith ceases when we see God, and Hope ceases all is fulfilled. For now, Hope makes us wait for the unfulfilled, Faith assures us of the unseen. It is not faith to believe in what we see. (Thus even demons believe of God, "and tremble.") Little wonder God is pleased to be loved when we do not see Him, and are easily distracted by all we do see. Little wonder He rewards those who look beyond the distractions and diligently seek Him.

Almighty God, You’ve rewarded us far beyond we deserve. Your intense love for us in our pitiful condition is amazing. Please show us how to love You while unseen, and entice us to diligently seek You and discover more of Your goodness.

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

God’s Kids

So the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? ... If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it." ... And it came to pass ... that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is Abel your brother?" He said, "I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?" (Genesis 4:6-9 NKJV)

In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. ... My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3:10,18 NKJV)

By whatever doctrine we call ourselves adopted children of God, we wear I.D. cards showing who we are called Love and Righteousness. Righteousness is not found in conformity to law, but in identity with Jesus Christ and His righteousness. I share His rule over sin and make it my practice to ignore its knock at the door. My heart thus united to Christ, I feel His bond to all others united to Him—and share His love for them. And genuine love is not hidden.

Our Father, thank You for purchasing us from the devil and death, and making us Your own children, loving righteousness. Please lead our hearts to show our love for the many sisters and brothers in our big family.

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Friday, June 20, 2008

The Blessing of the Curse

So the LORD God said to the serpent: "... I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel." To the woman He said: "I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you." Then to Adam He said, "... Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life..."
(Genesis 3:14-17 NKJV)

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
(Romans 8:28 NKJV)

When we rebelled against God, sin became our nature. In each curse, sin’s sting is felt—yet God works even curse for blessing. In the toil of survival we may be occupied with constructive labor, lest we are utterly consumed with sin. Amid pain and desire we are bonded together, lest the enemy utterly divide us. In the enmity between good and evil, Our Creator manifests consummate justice and mercy, grace and love, that might otherwise be unknown. We indeed give thanks in all circumstances.

Lord God, Your goodness is manifest even in Your curse. And for us whom You’ve fully blessed, there is no curse. Please open our eyes to Your blessing in all things.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

One Flesh

And the LORD God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him." ... And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. (Genesis 2:18,21-22 NKJV)

So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. (Ephesians 5:28-30 NKJV)

God made for man a ke-negeddoy—a "helpful counterpart" named wo-man. She was given life via the opening of flesh in man’s side which would have brought his bloodshed. Her purpose is to complement all he is by all she uniquely is (regardless of any purpose feminists view as superior to God’s).

Christ’s bride likewise received life in the final blood He shed via the opening in His side. Her purpose is to become one with Him and complement all He is by all she uniquely is.

Lord Jesus, thank You for Your great and passionate love for us, Your bride. Please unite us with one another as You are one with the Father, that we may truly be one flesh with You.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Work of Creation

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. . . . Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.
(Genesis 1:1,3-4 NKJV)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
(2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV)

God rested from work of creation on the seventh day, but He by no means stopped. The work of creating magnificence from what is formless and void is still His delight. He could have brought all into existence with a single word, but stretched it out over six days as an example of patience.

The new creation work in my spirit is still ongoing in my soul and flesh. I would have rest if God had fully sanctified me with a single word, but this way I remain dependent on Him.

My Creator, thank You for life. Thank you for new life, and the light you put in me. Please make my soul and flesh as "good" as You’ve made my spirit. Separate the light and darkness in me.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Praise AND Worship

And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, "Rejoice!" So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. (Matthew 28:9 NKJV)

"But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:23-24 NKJV)

Jesus gave an imperative to rejoice which is recorded with the Greek salutation chairete (a verb related to the noun charis, "grace, favor, joy"). Could there be a greater cause to rejoice than receiving a loved one back from the grave? Yet the joyful reunion was met first with face-on-the-ground worship, not the hands-uplifted-dancing praise which surely followed.

The Father seeks true worshipers. After I enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise, let me not fail to worship.

Lord Jesus, "I can only imagine, when that day comes ... will I dance for You ... Or to my knees [and face] will I fall?" I long to do all of it. Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

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Monday, June 16, 2008

I No Longer Live

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. (Matthew 27:50 NKJV)

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
(Galatians 2:20 NKJV)

Thirty years of obscurity, three years of ministry, and six hours on the cross culminated in the victory cry, "It is finished!" Jesus yielded His spirit, His sacrifice complete, His love perfected, resurrection life from His Father waiting in the wings.

I speak for myself: my defining moment was not the day I believed He died for me to live, but the day I yielded my spirit and died for Him. I no longer live. I still dwell in flesh, but it has been given over to Another, that He might continue to walk the earth in me.

Lord Jesus, I am utterly inadequate to express my gratitude to You—utterly inadequate to live for You. Show me today how to die to Self, that You might fully live in me.

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

His Blood on Us

"His blood be on us and on our children." (Matthew 27:25 NKJV)

You were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. (1 Peter 1:18-19 NKJV)

The Lamb’s blood is on every human. Either our hands are stained with guilt for it, or it has covered and redeemed us. My children inherit the guilt of bloodshed. They certainly receive my aimless conduct. May I not fail to faithfully convey to them my faith, that they might also receive the covering of blood. It is a far more worthy inheritance than corruptible silver and gold.

Heavenly Father, You are perfect. We are not. Please empower us as parents to make You known.

To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father—to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Led by the Spirit

"Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." (Matthew 26:41 NKJV)

I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. (Galatians 5:16-18 NKJV)

My spirit wishes to please my Lord. Yet I do not do as I wish, too often giving in to the natural inclinations of my flesh and being disappointed with myself. The last component of my spiritual armor is to be watchful in prayer (Ephesians 6:18), as Jesus instructed his disciples. When I am in continual communication with the Spirit, alert to His perspective, and yielded to His leading, I am far less likely to stumble.

Father, You are good to give us all we need for our journey and the battles we face along the way. Your Son says Your Spirit is given for the asking. Please fill us with Your Spirit. Lead us not into temptation, but through it, around it, beyond it—refine us by it.

Friday, June 13, 2008

What’s in a Name?

Now as they were eating, [Jesus] said, "Assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me." And they were exceedingly sorrowful, and each of them began to say to Him, "Lord, is it I?" . . . Then Judas, who was betraying Him, answered and said, "Rabbi, is it I?"
(Matthew 26:21-22, 25 NKJV)

My relationship with others is evident in their name for me. Only my children call me "Mom." Only my birth family uses my nickname. Only my husband addresses me as he does. In the many names of God His relationship to His people becomes evident. Scripture always shows Judas addressing Jesus as "Rabbi"—"Teacher." Jesus is indeed the greatest Teacher. He also purchased me with His blood. He owns me, and I am glad of it. I readily call Him "Lord," and surrender to all the relationship entails.

Lord Jesus, we are utterly unworthy of the price You’ve paid to purchase us for Yourself. Let us rejoice to make You Lord of all we think, feel, say, do.

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Talent Test

"His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ " (Matthew 25:21 NKJV)

"When the Son of Man comes in His glory . . . the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."
(Matthew 25:31,34 NKJV)

Each brief day on Earth is a test with eternal implications. All who are Christ’s will receive eternal life. Scripture reveals that believers will also be judged and rewarded according to their use of the talents and gifts entrusted to them. A good many will enter Heaven with fire licking at the seat of their pants (1 Corinthians 3:11-15), with nothing to show for their days on earth. Surely one of Heaven’s greatest rewards is if I hear the words from my beloved Lord, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

My Lord, thank You for the abundance with which You’ve blessed me. Please give me wisdom and courage to do with it as pleases You—as brings glory to Your name.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

What Hour?

But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. (Matthew 24:43 NKJV)

Death has been conquered—eternal death of spirit. The day yet lies in the future when no human will face physical death. In the meantime, for each of us is appointed an unexpected hour when physical life will be taken from us. There was a day when I gave this life to my Maker. Do I live every day as if it is His? Do I live every day ready to walk away from those I love without regret? I fear I am far too selfish. Each day is a puff of breath that quickly passes away.

My Creator, thank You for each day I have to live for You and die to Self for others. Please keep me mindful of how short my time is. Please fill me with Your Spirit so every day will count in eternity.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Take Heed

"And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you. . . . See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. . . . All these are the beginning of sorrows [birth pains]." (Matthew 24:4,8 NKJV)

"Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold."

(Matthew 24:9-12 NKJV)

Worldwide, Christians have never been more hated, more targeted for persecution. It is reported that more Christians have been slain for their faith in the last hundred years than in the previous nineteen hundred years since Christ came.

Birth pains signal intense suffering followed by intense joy. It cannot be a time of lawlessness and love grown cold. It must be a time of knowing the Word and abiding more closely with Christ than ever before, lest we are deceived.

Father in Heaven, Your Word is faithful, exalted, and stands forever. Draw us to rely upon You more intently every day. Enable us to heed You, recognize deception—and love You fervently.

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Monday, June 9, 2008

Free Indeed

"[The scribes and Pharisees] bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do to be seen by men. . . . Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you . . . outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness." (Matthew 23:4-5,27-28 NKJV)

If I love God with all heart, soul, mind and strength, He will so fill my vision that I am oblivious to condemnation from others—either the religious or the worldly, who are both filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness—and I will seek to please only Him. If I love my neighbors as I love myself, I will appreciate their Creator-bestowed uniqueness. I will not observe any failings with eyes of condemnation, but my compassion will drive me to help them until they know freedom from their burdens.

My Lord and Savior, You have set me free, and I am free indeed. My gratitude knows no bounds. You alone are righteousness. You are perfect love. Please make us all that You are.

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Sunday, June 8, 2008

Law of Love

"Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?" Jesus said to him, "‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 22:36-40 NKJV)

Commandments are viewed as burdensome. Grace is seen as good because it frees us from law. Yet Jesus did not preach lawlessness. He revealed the goodness of the law of love. If I first love God with all that I am, then all I think, feel, say and do follows easily. I will know a love that surpasses understanding, and will trust that such love asks of me only that which will bless me. The first thing such love asks is to likewise love each person in my life—not only brethren, but also my neighbor.

Majesty on High, Lord Jesus, Precious Paraclete, thank You for filling us with Your Love. Please let us find contentment in nothing less than knowing You and sharing Your love.

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Saturday, June 7, 2008

God with Us

"Tell the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your King is coming to you, Lowly, and sitting on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.’ " . . . Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: "Hosanna to the Son of David!‘ Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ Hosanna in the highest!" . . . But when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying out in the temple and saying, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" they were indignant. (Matthew 21:5,9,15 NKJV)

David's greatest day of celebration was when he brought the Ark of the Covenant—with which God’s glory dwelt—into the gates of Jerusalem. It was marred by the rejection of his wife Michal, who was blinded by pride and did not praise God’s presence. Jesus’ entry was likewise greeted with joy, though Jesus Himself wept with sorrow (Luke 19:41) because the people who should have been closest to God were blinded by pride to God’s presence.

King Jesus, please open our eyes to Your presence. Please let us recognize Your sovereignty in all our circumstances, and greet it with joy. Let us know the things that make for our peace.

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Friday, June 6, 2008

Son of David

"Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom." (Matthew 20:21 NKJV)

And behold, two blind men sitting by the road, when they heard that Jesus was passing by, cried out, saying, "Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!" (Matthew 20:30 NKJV)

An earthly king is approached with reverence and awe. His loyal subjects readily do whatever he asks. His ambassadors, and those privileged to dwell with him as companions, faithfully represent who he is.

Like King David, the divine Son of David was recognized as King well before the time of receiving His throne. Even the thief on the cross acknowledged Jesus’ kingdom as the two men were dying! Jesus is called our Savior and Lord. Is He acknowledged as King?

Prince of Peace, how glorious Your next entry to Jerusalem shall be! Please enable us to see You and humbly serve You as King even now. Come Lord Jesus!

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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Joined to His Wife

"Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’ ? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate." (Matthew 19:4-6 NKJV)

In physical reality God reveals spiritual reality. Passover was commanded both as a memorial of deliverance from Egypt and prophecy of Calvary. The union of man and wife is likewise a prophecy. Christ’s marriage is a Man leaving His Father and putting on flesh so that He may be one with His bride the church. In the rebirth of each member of the bride, we put on spiritual, eternal life so that the church may become one with her Bridegroom.

The day is at hand for the union’s full consummation.

Lord Jesus, my King and our Bridegroom, please incline the heart of each of us who is part of Your bride to be filled with thoughts of You, make ready for You, love You.

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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Road to Reconciliation

"Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more. ... And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector." (Matthew 18:15-17 NKJV)

"Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" Jesus said ... "Up to seventy times seven." (Matthew 18:21-22 NKJV)

This simple formula is perhaps more abused and neglected than anything Christ taught. It directs me to humbly confront my brother or sister—and my own sin (Galatians 6:1-5)—with a goal of reconciliation. If the matter does not merit broken fellowship, better to simply forgive and release minor offense. If the matter is truly serious, broken fellowship comes only at the end of appropriate confrontation. Telling it to others has its place, but should be carefully considered first (Proverbs 6:16-19).

Lord Jesus, Thank You for the incredible price You paid to enable our reconciliation to the Father. Please incline our prideful hearts toward reconciliation, that we may be one in You.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

View at the Peak

Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. (Matthew 17:1-2 NKJV)

The magnificent view from a high peak is the reward of endurance after an arduous climb. Looking down upon the steep and narrow trail now conquered is satisfying. Jesus brought His inner circle to the mountain top to see His majesty, not exalt in achievement. They were permitted to glimpse a familiar face with full light. They thought they recognized the voice of God until its full power became their undoing. Fellowship with the Almighty cannot be casual.

Almighty God, You are gracious to reveal Yourself to us. Please make each spiritual victory our desire to behold You glorified. Let us not linger upon accomplishment, but humbly remember how low we’ve been.

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Monday, June 2, 2008

Beware Imbalance

"How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread?—but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees." Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (Matthew 16:11-12 NKJV)

"For the Son of Man . . . will reward each according to his works." (Matthew 16:27 NKJV)

Legalistic Pharisees of all eras teach that we attain righteousness (rather than reward) by works, when it is available only by faith (Gen.15:6, Gal.3:6). But the Sadducees and their modern successors see no problem in God’s people melding with the world’s culture, materialism, and philosophies, despite admonitions to be a people set apart (Lev.11:45, 1 Pet.1:15). Jesus’ words echo those of Moses, "walk neither to the right nor the left." We have yet to find balance in the timeless message.

Father, thank You for the treasure of Your Word. It is so immense for us! Please show each of us how to walk closely with You in the balance of Your Word’s entirety.

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Sunday, June 1, 2008

Praise without Distraction

"These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men." (Matthew 15:8-9 NKJV)

"Those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. (Matthew 15:18-19 NKJV)

In the next few hours, I will stand among the congregation and honor the Lord with my lips. I will worship, praise and exalt Him with songs that I usually sing from the heart. On other days I will be other places and will definitely sing praise from the heart. Yet I will just as easily call another driver an idiot, and have evil thoughts about those who annoy me. If the praise on my lips is to be pure, it must come from a pure heart.

Oh my Lord, my desire is to truly honor You. Please give to me, and to each who is Yours, a heart that loves both You who we do not see and the neighbors who we do see. Please wash Your bride and make us ready for Your return.

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