It is amazing how an ordinary boy with a less-than-glamourous job of tending fields (read: shoveling sheep poop and fighting lions off in his spare time) for his father was chosen by God for His extraordinary purposes and specifically commended as being one “after God’s own heart.”
Our stories are the same! God has called us by name, and through Jesus, brought us into his family. He has made the ordinary extraordinary and given us a new heart, a heart freed from captivity to sin and death which can now choose instead to follow Jesus with abandon. Scripture says in 2 Chronicles 16:9 that the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. In another translation, it says he strengthens hearts “that are completely his.”
The world tells us to abandon our hearts to other things, and our flesh beckons us back to a life of sin. We may have our hands balled up around something which we have not given to God. It may be something we compartmentalize: God, you can have it all…except this one thing. What is the thing, the relationship, the addiction, the money, the area of life you want control over? Are there any walls in your heart toward God? What would happen if our hearts were “completely His?” He gives us a strength which encourages us, gives courage to us, and sustains us. We lose our false semblance of control, but gain the protection and loving leading of God in our lives and peace that passes understanding. Let it be said of us, the Church, this generation, you and me, that we are a people with hearts abandoned, hearts that are completely His, hearts that are ever after Him alone.
God, give me a heart abandoned, ever after you alone. All the things of this world pale in comparison to You. If they don’t, awaken me to the reality of Christ, open my eyes to see you and surely everything else will fade into the background. I know You’re the one who gave me a new heart in Christ, so please shape it and guide it into your ways. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
It’s easy to look around and see that the world is looking for love.
We all deeply connect with the idea of feeling known, accepted, and ultimately, loved, and are searching for it…maybe in all the wrong places as the old adage says. But more often than not, we look for it in good things: a relationship, our career, a success or goal met, our family, the next adventure or “big” thing on the horizon. We may readily run to these things to fill us with a sense of love and acceptance, but there’s a void of dissatisfaction wherever earthly love has taken residence in us where only divine love will do. There are a lot of “good” loves, but only one heavenly Great Love. Only the love of God in Christ Jesus will satisfy continually the innermost depths of our hearts, minds, and souls, to the brim and overflowing both now and forever.
Scripture tells us in 1 John 3:1: How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God, and that is what we are! Romans 8 says that nothing, not death, life, nor circumstances, nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Through the Innocent Perfection who gave his life for us, we have been forever changed by the power of the cross and brought into this great love of God. This kind of love calls us by name and lifts us up. It gives us a mercy which is new every day. It allows us to live from a place of love and acceptance, not a place of striving or earning. We are simply free to respond to the love of God with our lives. Oh Lord, let us do that today!
Father, thank you that I can call you that! Father. You have poured out in great measure continually, even now, your unmatched love on me, that I would be called your child. Thank you that through Jesus I have access to the love and power of God through the Spirit. Help me to lift my eyes to you today, and let your love transform me as I cease striving and live from acceptance, not for it. Amen.
The idea of Holy Ground was not a foreign one to God’s people Israel.
When Moses saw the burning bush, God told him to take off his sandals because he was standing on holy ground. Again, when Moses cried, “Show me your glory!” to God in Exodus 33, God had to hide Moses in a rock and shield him from seeing his face so he wouldn’t die at the sheer sight of His goodness and glory. It was too much, too glorious, to behold.
But now, because of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, when we as followers of Jesus cry “Show us your glory!” we find that it’s a cry of remembrance of all He has done for us and continues to do in us. Holy Ground is no longer a place, it’s the Person of Christ living in and through us, and He changes everything. Scripture tells us in 2 Corinthians 4 that “God, who has said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. The face Moses couldn’t see has now been revealed, all the hidden treasures of wisdom and knowledge, now found in Christ. When we lock eyes with Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, it changes us. Again in 2 Corinthians 3, Paul tells believers that we all with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory and are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory. Our lives become worship back to Him as we respond to the glorious truth of “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
God thank you that you have made known to us who you are in Christ, who is the “radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his being.” Thank you that holy ground is not a place but a position—being found in you, Jesus, and you in me through the Spirit. Let my heart be one in awe of you, burning for you, and changed by you. In Jesus’ name, amen.
It really is unfathomable, if it weren’t so true, that the same One who “stood in our place” also “stands by our side.”
Even today, even now, wherever we find ourselves today, in the best of times, in tough circumstances, and in every moment in between. Scripture says in Hebrews 1 that Jesus “is the image of the invisible God and the exact representation of his being.” Colossians 2 says he is the fullness of the Deity in bodily form and that he holds all things together by the word of his power. And yet. With all the power of God at his disposal as he walked on earth, fully God, yet fully man, he instead emptied himself. He chose to make himself nothing. Chose to consider his equality with God not a thing to be grasped. He was scorned, condemned, scourged, and killed. He was sinless yet became sin for us, paying the ultimate penalty for all mankind. He gave his perfect, holy life for us, a ransom payment to rescue us from the sin which held us captive and would surely kill us unless the price was paid in full. But that isn’t why Jesus is worthy. He is worthy because death couldn’t hold him and three days later he was raised to life, by the power of the Spirit, bringing with him any and all who would put their faith in him, that all who call on his name will be saved.
There are so many “names” vying for our attention: the name of our boss, girlfriend, husband, or son. The names on our clothing, our degree, or the car we drive. But only One name is worthy of our time, our energy, our affection, our entire lives: Jesus. Scripture says God has exalted him to the highest place, giving him the name above all names.
Father, thank you for Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of my faith, Maker, Ransom, and Savior. Let this truth sink into my mind and heart and reflect in the way I live today. I want to live a life of worship that brings you glory, please help me do that today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
You called my name, and I ran out of that grave!
We as followers of Jesus can proclaim this because of who He is and what He has done. Sin doesn’t just make us bad; it makes us dead. We were all in desperate need of a Savior. Not only did Jesus die for our sin, but he was raised to everlasting life! He was the first to run out of that grave, and when we trust him with our lives we are right there with him in glory—eternal life both now and forever.
In John 11, Jesus raises a dead man to life, crying out at his tomb: “Lazarus, come out!” He says the same to you and to me: “_________, come out!” He knows your name, and calls you out of your grave. Get up! Unwind the grave clothes of sin and shame, you have been set free, raised to glorious life because of Jesus’ resurrection. All the chains of your past and the worries for your future have been swallowed up forever in victory. Scripture says that the very same Spirit who raised Christ from the dead is living in each of us who follow Jesus. This is a reality for you today. You can therefore declare confidently that God has called your name, and Jesus has defeated whatever threatens to entangle, discourage, or thwart you from this promise today.
Jesus, because of you, I have a future and my eyes are open. Thank you for calling my name! I worship you and give you glory. Let me not be taken down by apathy, entangled by old sins, or paralyzed by fear and discouragement. I believe chains break at the weight of your glory. Help me remember who you are, whose I am, and live a life that brings you glory. In your name, Amen.
Some days, we’re just not “feeling it.”
“It” could be a general apathy, or specific to our relationship with God. But Scripture tells us what to do when our emotions rebel against us or don’t let us feel anything at all. Romans 12:2 says, “Don’t be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our mind.” How do we do this? By knowing the Word of God. But not to, as James says, be hearers only, but to then do it. We have to tell ourselves the truth. Every day, every hour, every minute, until our heart follows suit.
This we know to be true: we have victory in Christ! When it seems there is now way, He is our way. We will see the enemy run, even if it feels like we are constantly in battle, and we will see the victory come because we already have it thanks to Jesus. No matter where life finds you today, the love of God in Christ is unfailing and you can hold on to it with all you are. Hebrews 10 says to hold unswervingly to the hope you possess, because God is faithful. He is who He says He is.
Psalm 20 is a beautiful reminder of this truth. David writes: “This I know: The Lord gives victory to his anointed.” Those God has called, you and me, and all who call on the name of the Lord, have received victory today in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Let our trust reflect the truth we believe.