Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Real Lord's Prayer

My most cherished passage in the Holy Scriptures has to be, without doubt, John 17. (Now, what we commonly refer to as "The Lord's Prayer" in my opinion is actually "The Disciple's Prayer" taught to us by the Lord. You know, it's in Matthew 6, and begins with "Our Father Who Art in Heaven...") However, "The Real Lord's Prayer" has to be "His High Priestly Prayer" recorded in John 17. If you haven't read it lately, I highly recommend that you consider reading it.

Here are a few verses just to heighten your hunger and thirst to read and saturate in the whole prayer of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ: Jesus is praying to the Father shortly before being crucified. Here's a portion of "The Real Lord's Prayer" -- John 17:19-23 (NIV)

(19) For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. (20) My prayer is not for them (the original disciples) alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, (21) that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. (22) I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: (23) I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Forgiveness Beautifully Defined

Years ago a friend of mine who was seeking mercy for a wrong that he undeniably wanted to make right (with the one he had offended) gave me this unforgettable definition for forgiveness when he softly and sincerely said, Here's what I am asking from the one I offended:

In asking for forgiveness, I am asking you to give up your right to hurt me for hurting you.

It was such a vulnerable and beautiful expression of humility that it left me totally speechless. Still does. And, oh yeah... forgiveness was extended to my vulnerable friend (by the one he had offended) in exactly the way he had hoped.

Amazing, indeed! Christ-like forgiveness. In fact, as Jesus was nailed on the Cross, a paraphrase of His prayer for us might be: Father forgive them... I give up my right to hurt them for hurting Me.

Forgive, and you will be forgiven. -- Words of Jesus in Luke 6:37.


Fruit for All Seasons

Today, these seven simple but profound words from Galatians 5:22 (NIV) are in my heart and on my mind: "... the fruit of the Spirit is love ..."


Monday, July 27, 2009

Our Pain in His Heart

Our dear friend, Deb, gave me the most wonderful definition of compassion that I have ever heard. She said compassion means, Your pain in my heart.

According to these descriptive words about Jesus' heart of love recorded in Matthew 9:36, certainly Jesus defines compassion as Our pain in His heart. Here's the passage: "Jesus had compassion on them because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd."

We love Jesus so much because He first loved us too much.

His pain? Our gain!


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Are Our Hearts "Perfect" Towards God?

1 Chronicles 16:9a (KJV) For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him. (KJV)

1 Chronicles 16:9a (NIV) For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.

Are our hearts perfect towards God? Are our hearts fully committed to God? In other words, having experienced His perfect love towards us, will we now be His saints, that is, will we be Exclusively God's? Will we now choose intimacy with Him rather than idolatry in sin?

In John 8, Jesus showed mercy and compassion to the woman about to be stoned by her accusers for her sin-filled life. After condemning the self-righteous motives of the would-be stone-throwers, Jesus spoke a benediction to her, calling her to now have a fully committed heart to Him, not to sin. Yes, it's plainly recorded in John 8:11. Hear Jesus speaking to the nearly stoned but now rescued sinner: Go and sin no more (KJV). Go now and leave your life of sin. (NIV).

In this heart-warming New Testament story we learn that, indeed, Jesus loves sinners so much that He meets us where we are -- in sin, yet, the Good News gets Gooder because He also loves us too much to leave us there.

Having been rescued from our lives of sin by the Savior of Love, should we still belong to sin? I mean, shouldn't we now belong to Him? Doesn't He deserve hearts that are perfect towards Him? Fully committed to Him? Shouldn't we leave our sin and cleave to Him?

Are our hearts perfect towards God? If not, why not? Could it be that we still love sin more than Him? If so, Lord, forgive it and Lord forbid it. May we know such oneness with You, oh Lord, that we would truly go and sin no more. We have the Holy Spirit to Help us!


Friday, July 24, 2009

Wisdom Speaking

In Proverbs 8:30 (NIV), Wisdom speaks these words: I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in His (The Lord God's) presence...

My Lord God... I want to delight day after day, rejoicing always in the ministry of Your Holy Presence over the misery of my human performance. Yes, I desire Your unlimited Wisdom over my limited knowledge. In Jesus' name. Amen.

James 1:5 (NIV) -- If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Reminders of God's Greatness & Presence

Do certain things remind you of God's greatness and presence in your life?

It just happened for me on my front porch. As I was reading and reflecting on God's greatness and presence, a hummingbird joined me on the front porch. The little, sophisticated yet delicate, winged-creation of my God flew in and reminded me that the same God whose greatness and presence engineered "the hummingbird" is engineering the circumstances of my life today and day-by-day. What an encouragement to my soul. Pure inspiration.

Lord, my name is Grateful and your name is Faithful. Thanks for the gentle and perfect reminder of your greatness and presence in my life today. I know You are great. You exist. Yes You live in me. I also know that You are good. You care. Yes you love me. (Refer to Hebrews 11:6)

ALL JOY... on the wings of hummingbirds... :-)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


My soul-friend, O.C., said "Sancticifcation means being made one with Jesus. Sanctification is not something Jesus puts in me— it is Himself in me."

Consider 1 Corinthians 1:30-31 (NIV) -- 30 It is because of God that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."

Finally, let's listen together to the words that Jesus prayed to His Father as His High Priestly Prayer was concluding just hours before He went to the Cross to be crucified for us so that we might also be also crucified with Him.

John 17, verse 19, Jesus praying: For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. And then in verse 26, hear the final seven words of Jesus' prayer to the Father prayer concerning what He wanted for Himself and for us: ...that I myself may be in them.

Yes, oneness with us is what Jesus knows He wants and oneness with Him is what Jesus knows we need. So, sanctification surely means being freed from all Sin and made one with just Him... by faith. Do we believe it?

Do we want what He wants more than we want anything? Do we want what Jesus wants for Himself and for us? God the Son's prayer to God the Father still echoes endlessly: ...that I myself may be in them. Sanctification!


Monday, July 20, 2009

The Hope

Here's a tremendous thought to ponder...

If we really believe the One who called Himself "the Truth" (in John 14:6) really came to be crucified so He could set us free from sin and give us total victory in this life and beyond, let's consider the awesome power that is ours in these New Testament words penned by the Apostle Paul (who defines "the Hope" as "Christ in you/me...") Here's what he wrote:

Christ in you "the Hope" of glory. Colossians 1:27b (NIV)


Friday, July 17, 2009

Pray Don't Pry

This thought came to me this morning in my early saturation time with the Scriptures.

If we have reason to believe that people we know or even strangers we encounter are walking in darkness that is destructive to their souls, let us trust God and be devoted to pray their eyes open rather than trying to argue with them in an attempt to pry their eyes open.

Afterall, James 5:16b (NIV) declares: The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective!


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

God Knows Our Hearts & Our Thoughts

According to Psalm 139:23-24, God cares what's in our hearts and what's on our minds. Let's join the Psalmist in this prayer for God's leadership in our lives:

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Galatians 2:20

Somewhere between 1987 and 1992, Galatians 2:20 became my life's verse. It still is my life's verse:

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)

Do you have a life's verse? If so feel free to share it as a comment.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Old Testament Words of Blessing

I pray these words of blessing from the Old Testament book of Job, chapter 11, verses 17-19, over your life today:

Yes, I pray...
(17) Life will be brighter than noonday,
and darkness will become like morning.
(18) You will be secure, because there is hope;
you will look about you and take your rest in safety.
(19) You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid,
and many will court your favor.

In the name of the One called Wonderful. Amen.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Fear Not!

Do you pray the Holy Scriptures? If not, why not? I invite you to practice the presence of the Lord by echoing His Holy Word back to Him in prayer. These ten powerful words from Psalm 23:4 have been on my heart as a personal prayer to the Lord this week. Let's echo God's Holy Word back to Him in prayer together now:

I will fear no evil, for You are with me!

In the Name of the Lord, my Shepherd. Amen.


Saturday, July 4, 2009

Free Indeed

“Jesus replied, ‘I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin’. (35) Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. (36) So, if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” -- John 8:34-36 (NIV)

A few years ago on July 4 (Independence Day in the USA) my family and I were vacationing along the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We could hardly wait to watch the fireworks display over the water later that evening.

Earlier in the day, we stood along the roadside of the small, seaside village and watched a home-grown, Independence Day parade. From the parade entries, I could tell that people had very, very different ideas about the meaning of being free.

On one of the parade floats, some of the locals were seemingly drunk and were giving off vulgar expressions to the parade-watchers. As they moved along the parade route, they created an unashamed, nearly out of control atmosphere. It seemed their idea of being free was being free to sin.

A few moments later a local church float passed by us. The American flag was draped around a large wodden cross. This message was on the back of the church float: “Free in Him, Jesus!”

Free in Him means free from sin. Personally, I call that free indeed!


Thursday, July 2, 2009

God's Strength

This morning I am reminded of these words from a Christian song from the 1980s:

"His strength is perfect when our strength is gone..."

I pray that the Word of God recorded in Isaiah 40:31 will be a refreshing encouragement to you today and day-by-day and that the One called Wonderful will overwhelm the weariness in your life.

"...but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint."

-- Isaiah 40:31 (NIV)