Tag Results For :: "Jesus"




The Home I’m Made For

May 24th, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer. He cuts off every branch of me that doesn’t bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more. You are already pruned back by the message I have spoken.

“Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me.”

John 15:1-4, The Message

Living in Christ . . . keeping His commandments. This is the deeply rooted foundation upon which believers build. Then, firmly planted, we are able to stand against the strongest winds of winter and in season bear fruit for the kingdom of God. Good works, spiritual gifts, productive maturity―all the things we associate with what it means to be the Lord’s disciple―come out of abiding. They blossom from the encouragement we receive from total dependence upon Jesus and His Word.

Lord, my life is in Your hands. Thank you for pruning and preparing me according to Your plans and purposes: You’re the home I’m made for! May I bear Your fruit, manifest Your peace, and know Your joy in response to Your life, guarded forever by the patient nurture of your steadfast love ― in Christ, I pray.

 

“I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love. That’s what I’ve done—kept my Father’s commands and made myself at home in his love.

“I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you.”

John 9-15, The Message



Joining In

May 17th, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

O Lord, save us; 
O Lord, grant us success.
 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
 From the house of the Lord we bless you. 


The Lord is God, 
and he has made his light shine upon us.
 With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession
 up to the horns of the altar.

You are my God, and I will give you thanks;
 you are my God, and I will exalt you.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
 his love endures forever.

—   Psalm 118:25-29, NIV

 

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“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand,” declared David (Ps. 16:11, NIV). But we must take time to pray, to wait, to listen. 

How much we need to hear and heed Jesus’ promise that He will strengthen us for the journey ahead and light our way with His unfailing love, grace, and protection. With our hearts focused on God’s kingdom and our minds set on Christ, our hungry souls are strengthened, sustained, and shielded from harm.

Day by day we can lift our souls to the Lord of life, asking Him to lead us, feed us, fortify us, and make us more fruitful: “Fill my cup, Lord—I lift it up, Lord! Come and quench the thirsting of my soul; Bread of Heaven, feed me till I want no more—Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole!”

 

Almighty God, we give Thee thanks for the mighty yearning of the human heart, for the coming of a Savior, and the constant promise of Thy Word that He was to come. In our own souls we repeat the humble sighs and panting aspirations of ancient men and ages, and own that our souls are in darkness and infirmity without faith in Him who comes to bring God to man and man to God. We bless Thee for the tribute we can pay to Him from our very sense of need and dependence, and that our own hearts can so answer, from their wilderness, the cry, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord.” In us the rough places are to be made smooth, the crooked straight, the mountains of pride brought low, and the valleys of despondency lifted up. O God, prepare Thou the way in us now, and may we welcome anew Thy Holy Child. Hosanna! blessed be He who cometh in the name of the Lord — Amen.

— Samuel Osgood 



Bouyant

April 25th, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Seek to cultivate a buoyant, joyous sense of the crowded kindnesses of God in your daily life. 

—Alexander MacLaren (1826-1910)

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“Joy, not grit, is the hallmark of holy obedience. We need to be light-hearted in what we do to avoid taking ourselves too seriously. It is a cheerful revolt against self and pride. Our work is jubilant, carefree, merry. Utter abandonment to God is done freely and with celebration. And so I urge you to enjoy this ministry of self-surrender. Don’t push too hard. Hold this work lightly, joyfully.”

—Richard J. Foster

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Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 

—1 Thessalonians 5:16, NIV



What Do We Lack?

April 20th, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How priceless is your unfailing love!
Both high and low among men
find refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.

— Psalm 36:7-9

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In the seventeenth century Francis Quarles wrote, “In having all things but Thee, what have I? Not having Thee, what have my labors got? Let me enjoy but Thee, what further crave I? And having Thee alone, what have I not?”

Indeed, if we belong to Jesus and His Spirit has found a home in our hearts, what do we lack? As we take time out to taste Christ’s eternal bounty, what further do we crave except more of Him? Still, it’s amazingly easy to dismiss this vital truth if our schedules begin to overflow with stressful activity, drain our inner reserves, and cause us to grow weary with life’s complex demands.

“Taste and see that the Lord is good,” David’s psalm invites us. “Oh, the joys of those who trust in him!” (Ps. 34:8, NLT). We don’t have to wait until tomorrow to seek and find the source of our soul’s satisfaction.

 

Jesus, Thou Joy of loving hearts,

Thou Fount of life, Thou Light of men,

From the best bliss that earth imparts,

We turn unfilled to Thee again.

 

Thy truth unchanged has ever stood,

Thou savest those that on Thee call;

To them that seek Thee, Thou are good,

To them that find Thee, all in all.

 

We taste Thee, O Thou Living Bread,

And long to feast upon Thee still;

We drink of Thee, the Fountainhead,

And thirst our souls from Thee to fill.

 

Our restless spirits long for Thee,

Where’er our changeful lot is cast;

Glad when Thy gracious smile we see,

Blest when our faith can hold Thee fast.

 

O Jesus, ever with us stay,

Make all our moments calm and bright;

Chase the dark night of sin away,

Shed o’er the world Thy holy light.

— Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153)



Early

April 14th, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Return, O Lord! How long? And have compassion on Your servants.

Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy,
That we may rejoice and be glad all our days!

Make us glad according to the days in which You have afflicted us,
The years in which we have seen evil.

— Psalm 90:13-15, NKLV

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I’m waiting for you, Lord.

The world we live in is not as it once was and not as it will one day be. Our anxious waiting “for that day when God will give us our full rights as his children, including the new bodies he has promised us” is not a soundless, predictable, easy process. The “foretaste of future glory” we have received from the Holy Spirit, rather than eliminating our groaning hunger for Christ and His kingdom, significantly sharpens our longing.

“Suffering makes us want to go there. Broken homes and broken hearts crush our illusions that earth can keep its promises, that it can really satisfy,” states Joni Eareckson Tada, who has lived most of her life in a wheelchair since being paralyzed in a diving accident. “Only the hope of heaven can truly move our passions off this world—which God knows could never fulfill us anyway—and place them where they will find their glorious fulfillment.”

In spite of what currently popular trends, theories, and theology may tell us, just as there is no painless birth, there is no painless life.

Like pregnancy, life can seem strangely meaningless if we discount or dismiss its eternal purpose and value in the presence of painful, confusing contradictions. But when we stop, focus our eyes of faith on Jesus, and quiet our hearts long enough to truly recognize and feel the discomfort, we find Christ waiting to meet us at the heart of our deep groaning.

I’m waiting for you, Lord.

All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy. Rom. 8:22-25, MSG



Doubt It Not!

April 6th, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Look at the cross; behold His precious Gift transfixed to it, and that by His own hand, and for your sins. Then look at your present circumstances, survey your needs, your trials, your chastisements, your bereavements, your heart-sickening, heartbreaking tribulations, and know that God still is love. If He had love strong enough, deep enough, to give you Jesus—to tear Him, as it were, from His bosom, and to transfix Him on yonder accursed tree for your iniquities—has He not love enough to bow His ear to your cry, and His heart to your sorrow? Will He not rescue you from this difficulty, deliver you out of this trouble, shield you in this temptation, supply this need, and support, succour, and comfort you in this grief? Oh yes, He will! Doubt it not! The cross of Calvary is a standing pledge—standing until sin and guilt, need and woe, shall be known no more—that God, who ‘spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, will with Him also freely give us all things’ necessary to our good, and promotive of His glory.” — Octavius Winslow (1808-1878)

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We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up his permanent post as high priest for us, in the order of Melchizedek.

– Hebrews 6:13-20, MSG

 

Holding on to hope with both hands today is possible. The opportunity to see, trust, and believe is here, right now.

Lord, help me today to keep looking for you in every moment, each conflict, all my activities, beyond the noise, above the silence. Thank you for meeting me in the midst of my life as it actually is.