Confess the Lord as Your God

For my iniquities have gone over my head; Like a heavy burden they are too heavy for me…I am troubled, I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long…in You, O LORD, I hope; You will hear, O Lord my God…Do not forsake me, O LORD; O my God, be not far from me!
(Psalm 38:4, 6, 15 and 21)

When the battles raged with pain and cruelty, David drew upon God’s grace by humbly confessing the Lord as his God. “I hear the slander of many; Fear is on every side…But as for me…I say, ‘You are my God'” (Psalm 31:13-14). Then David added, “My times are in Your hand” (Psalm 31:15). He knew that all of his times were in the hand of his sovereign God. David demonstrated this dependence upon the Lord in all types of situations (not only during the agonizing betrayals that he faced).

When David experienced times of personal sin and failure, he turned to the Lord, his God. “For my iniquities have gone over my head; Like a heavy burden they are too heavy for me.” The guilt of David’s sins overwhelmed him like mighty flood waters and crushed him like a massive weight. “I am troubled, I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long.”  This left David distressed, greatly pressed down, and continually grieving. Thus, with a broken and humble repentance, he confessed the Lord as his God. “In You, O LORD, I hope; You will hear, O Lord my God…Do not forsake me, O LORD; O my God, be not far from me!”

In other times, David confessed the Lord as his God. When he was sick and near to death, he turned to the Lord, confessing Him as his God. “O LORD my God, I cried out to You, And You have healed me. O LORD, You have brought my soul up from the grave; You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit” (Psalm 30:2-3). When David was humbly aware of his lack of innate goodness, he also confessed the Lord as his remedy. “Preserve me, O God, for in You I put my trust. O my soul, you have said to the LORD, ‘You are my Lord, my goodness is nothing apart from You’” (Psalm 16:1-2). On the other hand, when David was joyously abounding in the goodness of the Lord, he also confessed the Lord as his God. “Many, O LORD my God, are Your wonderful works which You have done; And Your thoughts which are toward us cannot be recounted to You in order” (Psalm 40:5).

Dear Lord, You are my God as well! Yet, I know that in many situations, I have not confessed You as my God. Lord, teach me to confess You as my God in every circumstance—when I have sinned, when I am sick, when I am abased, when I am abounding. Wherever I am, whatever comes my way, may I see You as my God, lovingly and powerfully handling my times, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Courtesy of Day-by-Day Grace from the Blue Letter Bible

Good Friday – Part II

Easter Classic: BAILEY’S JESUS (from The Daily Encourager): 

God recently allowed me to see Jesus through the eyes of someone seeing Him for the first time. Having the advantage of knowing how the story ends, we can easily forget the cost of our redemption and the love of our Savior.

Every year we attend a local church pageant at Christmas time, which tells the story of Jesus from His birth through His resurrection. It is a spectacular event, with live animals and hundreds of cast members in realistic costumes. The magi enter the huge auditorium on llamas from the rear, descending the steps in pomp and majesty. Roman soldiers look huge and menacing in their costumes and makeup.

Of all the years we have attended, one stands out indelibly in my heart. It was the year we took our then three-year-old granddaughter, Bailey, who loves Jesus. She was mesmerized throughout the entire play, not just watching, but involved as if she were a player. She watches as Joseph and Mary travel to the Inn and is thrilled when she sees the baby Jesus in His mother’s arms.

When Jesus, on a young donkey, descends the steps from the back of the auditorium, depicting His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Bailey was ecstatic. As he neared our aisle, Bailey began jumping up and down, screaming, “Jesus, Jesus! There’s Jesus!” Not just saying the words but exclaiming them with every fiber of her being. She alternated between screaming his name and hugging us. “It’s Jesus. Look!”

I thought she might actually pass out. Tears filled my eyes as I looked at Jesus through the eyes of a child in love with Him, seeing Him for the first time. How like the blind beggar screaming out in reckless abandon, “Jesus, Jesus!”, afraid he might miss Him, not caring what others thought. (Mark 10:46-52)

This was so much fun.

Then came the arrest scene. On stage, the soldiers shoved and slapped Jesus as they moved Him from the Garden of Gesthemane to Pilate. Bailey responded as if she were in the crowd of women, with terror and anger. “Stop it!” she screamed. “Bad soldiers, stop it!” As I watched her reaction, I wished we had talked to her before the play. “Bailey it’s OK. They are just pretending.”

“They are hurting Jesus! Stop it!”

She stood in her seat reacting to each and every move. People around us at first smiled at her reaction, thinking “How cute!”. Then they quit smiling and began watching her watch Him. In a most powerful scene, the soldiers lead Jesus carrying the cross down the steps of the auditorium from the back They were yelling, whipping, and cursing at Jesus, who was bloodied and beaten.

Bailey was now hysterical. “Stop it! Soldiers! Stop it,” she screamed. She must have been wondering why all these people did nothing. She then began to cry instead of scream. “Jesus, Oh, Jesus!” People all around us began to weep as we all watch this devoted little disciple see her Jesus beaten and killed as those first century disciples had.

Going back and forth between her mother’s lap and mine for comfort, she was distraught. I kept saying, “Bailey, it’s OK. Jesus is going to be OK. These are just people pretending to be soldiers. She looked at me like I was crazy. In my lap, we talked through the cross and burial. “Watch, Bailey, watch for Jesus!”

The tomb began to tremble and lightening flashed as the stone rolled away. A Super Bowl touchdown cheer couldn’t come close to matching this little one’s reaction to the resurrection. “Jesus! He’s OK. Mommy, it’s Jesus!” I prayed that she wasn’t going to be traumatized by this event, but that she would remember it. I shall never forget it. I shall never forget seeing Jesus’s suffering, crucifixion, and resurrection through the eyes of an innocent child.

Following the pageant the actors all assembled in the foyer to be greeted by the audience. As we passed by some of the soldiers Bailey screamed out, “Bad soldier, don’t you hurt Jesus.” The actor who portrayed Jesus was some distance away surrounded by well-wishers and friends. Bailey broke away from us and ran toward him, wrapping herself around his legs, holding on for dear life. He hugged her and said, “Jesus loves you.” He patted her to go away.

She wouldn’t let go. She kept clinging to Him, laughing and calling His name. She wasn’t about to let go of her Jesus.

I think God in heaven stopped what ever was going on that day and made all the angels watch Bailey. “Now, look there! You see what I meant when I said, ‘Of such is the kingdom of heaven?'”

Bailey’s reaction should be our reaction every day. When we think of Him, who He is, what He did for us, and what He offers us, we have to say, how can we do anything less than worship Him?  

 

 

 

Excuses

“I’m not perfect.”
“I have all kinds of problems.”
“I don’t know the Bible well enough.”
“I have no ability. I don’t have any gifts.”
“I’m limited.”
“I’m just not worthy…”

Well, did you know that….
  Moses stuttered.
  David’s armor didn’t fit.
  John Mark deserted Paul.
  Timothy had ulcers.
  Hosea’s wife was a prostitute.
  Amos’ only training was in the school of fig-tree pruning.
  Jacob was a liar.
  David had an affair.
  Abraham was too old.
  David was too young.
  Peter was afraid of death.
  Lazarus was dead.
  John was self-righteous.
  Naomi was a widow.
  Paul was a persecutor of the church.
  Moses was a murderer.
  Jonah ran from God’s will.
  Miriam was a gossip.
  Gideon and Thomas both doubted.
  Jeremiah was depressed and suicidal.
  Elijah was burned out.
  John the Baptist was a loudmouth.
  Martha was a worry-wart.
  Did I mention that Moses had a short fuse?
  So did Peter, Paul – well, lots of folks did.

God doesn’t require a job interview for salvation. He’s our Heavenly Father. He doesn’t check our bank statement or credit rating or our IQ before He uses us.  He’s not prejudiced or partial, not judging, grudging, not deaf to our cry, not blind to our need. He knows who we are and what we are and loves us in spite of ourselves.

Satan says, “You’re not worthy”
Jesus says, “So what?  I am!”

Satan looks back and sees our mistakes.
God looks back and sees the cross.

There are lots of reasons why God shouldn’t call us. But if we are in love with Him, if we hunger for Him, He’ll use us in spite of who we are, where we’ve been, what we have done, or the fact that we are not perfect!

Jesus says, “Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and you will find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; For every one that asks will receive; and he that seeks will find; and to him that knocks it shall be opened”  (Matthew 7:7-8)

Author unknown

The Master Weaver

As many of you may know, I love genealogy.  Today I found out that my German great-grandfather was a “master weaver” by profession.  While doing some research on what that was I stumbled across this poem.  I love it – hope you do as well:

The Plan Of The Master Weaver

Our lives are but fine weavings,
That God and we prepare,
Each life becomes a fabric planned
And fashioned in His care.
We may not always see just how
The weavings intertwine,
But we must trust the Master’s hand
And follow His design,
For He can view the pattern
From the upper side,
While we must look from underneath
And trust in Him to guide.

Sometimes a strand of sorrow
Is added to His plan,
And though it’s difficult for us,
We still must understand
That it’s He who fills the shuttle,
It’s He who knows what’s best,
So we must weave in patience
And leave to Him the rest…

Not till the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Shall God unroll the canvas
And explain the reason why—
The dark threads are as needed
In the Weaver’s skillful hand
And the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned.

–Anonymous

Rid Me of Myself

Recently one of my sisters in Christ at church passed away and went home to the Lord.  Her courage, faith and testimony – and that of her husband – were an inspiration to me.  At her memorial service her husband laid out her many bibles and devotionals that were ragged and worn thin from use.  In one of them was written:

O’God, Thy will.  Nothing more, nothing less, nothing else.  Amen (written by John Hughes)

 

 

Happy Valentine’s Day !

It’s that day again – Valentine’s Day – the day we traditionally celebrate our love and affection with our intimate partner.  Some will get flowers today – and some will not.  Some will get extravagant gifts today – and some will not.  Some will measure their lover’s devotion by the amount of money he spent on the gift.  Some will be pleased – some will be deeply disappointed – and some will be lonely today.  I cherish what God has to say on the topic of love:

1 Corinthians 13:4–8a – Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails …

Matthew 22:37–39 – 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.

John 15:13 – Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.