The Great He Is

At the burning bush Moses asked God to identify Himself. God replied, “I AM WHO I AM” (Exodus 3:14) In that same verse he directed Moses to tell the Hebrew people the “I AM” sent him. Our assignment as God’s children and servants is to tell people HE IS!

HE IS the truth.
HE IS the one who forgives sin.
HE IS the only path to eternal life in heaven.
HE IS the wisdom we need to succeed in this life.
HE IS  the final victor in the battle between good and evil.
HE IS the creator and sustainer of the universe.
HE IS  the one who gives us joy and peace.
HE IS our protector from temptation.
HE IS our refuge. 

HE IS
and it is our privilege to tell everyone we meet!

Teaching On The Way to Emmaus

     The episode on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-36) is beautiful to me because it is so instructive.
     Just a week before, these two men believed they had found in Jesus the answer to all their political and spiritual questions. But their hopes that He would "redeem Israel" had been dashed. They were confused and disappointed followers of Jesus. (Don't know about you, but I've been there and done that.)
     But Jesus specifically and intentionally went to them in their struggle. (And He finds me in mine.)
     After walking with them for awhile He started to leave them with only a partial understanding. They asked for more teaching and He obliged. (He gives me more when I ask.)
     In verse 27 Jesus used the scriptures to teach about himself. What Scriptures? The Old Testament, because that is all they had.
     I would love to have been there and heard Jesus tell about himself and his relationship to those Old Testament writers. He could have said "I know exactly what Isaiah and David meant because I was right there with them when they wrote those words." That is really teaching with authority..." (Mark 1:22)
     And then they went and told others.

God’s Firm Grip

Recently received this from David Martin. He gave me permission to use it.

Well, it finally happened.  Violette, our granddaughter, took her first steps.  They were halting and unsure, but still independent.  She was so proud of her little self.  Even though she has a few dozen independent steps under her diaper, she still needs our assistance almost 100% of the time to get around on her own two feet.

As I was making the umpteenth lap around the house yesterday holding her chubby little hands, I realized that the death-grip she had on my fingers was not at all necessary.  I had a firm grasp on her hands that would not allow her to fall.  But that did not lessen the need she felt to hang on tightly to my forefingers.

All too often that is how I treat God.  I think I must hang on to Him with all my might, grasping his hands as tightly as possible.  My ability to hang on to God with my strength is so insignificant as to be worthless.  It is His grasp on my hands that keeps me from falling.  

Isaiah 41:13  For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand;  it is I who say to you, "Fear not, I am the one who helps you." 

His children can rest in the fact that it is El Shaddi, God Almighty, who holds our hands to keep us safe and upright.  How thankful I am that I am in His hands.     



The Greatest Prayer





Which is the greatest prayer in the Bible?

The answer to this question is usually based on which prayer had the largest, most impressive result. Elijah's prayer in I Kings 17:20-22 brought life to the body of a young boy. Joshua's prayer in Joshua 10:12-13 resulted in altered movement of the sun and an Israelite victory. Moses' prayer in Exodus 32:11-14 caused God to "repent" of His idea to "consume" the Hebrew people. Each of these, in some way, worked for the benefit of the person praying.

I maintain, however, that the greatest prayer of all was offered by Jesus in Matthew 26:39 when He said "...not as I will, but as you will." Simple and short, from a totally submitted heart, this prayer was answered by Jehovah God and ended in Jesus' torture and death. They both knew that death was imminent and both accepted it. The result was the offering of salvation to untold numbers of people throughout the world. And it serves as the type of prayer that Christians should be offering every day.

The greatest prayer resulted in the greatest sacrifice and the greatest resurrection the world has ever known.

Disciples’ Easter Weekend

(Friday Night)
We thought He was the Messiah,
The true and only one.
We thought He would restore us. 
We thought He was God's son.
But now He's dead and in the tomb.
We don't know what to do.
He said "I will not leave you."
But we're scared, through and through.

(Saturday)
Years ago we left families
And followed, just like He said.
But then they nailed Him to the cross.
Our hopes and dreams are dead.
Should we run or should we hide?
What is left for us here?
A week ago it was different.
I can still hear the crowd's cheers.

(Early Sunday Morning)
Hey! He's not in the tomb!
Mary just brought us the word.
She says He's back from the dead.
It's the best news I've ever heard.
Can't wait to see Him for myself.
It's almost too good to be true.
Maybe he'll heal the sick and teach
Just like He used to do.

(Later Sunday)
Jesus just came into the room
There's no doubt about it.
Everyone needs to know. 
Let's all go out and shout it.
He is alive! He is alive!
You better believe it, friend.
He is all that He promised.
I'll never doubt again.

WHO AM I?

As a born again, covered-by-the-blood Christian, just exactly who am I?

Am I a child of the King, a prince of kingdom? Am I a servant of the most high? Could I perhaps be a soldier in God’s army or maybe an ambassador to foreign kingdoms?

YES! YES! YES! YES! I am all of those, but it is easier to announce that answer than to fully understand and explain it.

My position in God’s kingdom is that of a son, a privileged prince who can claim all the blessings and perks available to one of such high status. Yet I am His servant, standing ready to eagerly fulfill His every wish. As a fully-armed soldier in His army I am ready to do battle, clothed in the armor He has provided for me. And my position as an ambassador sends me into the streets and alleys inviting the needy of this world to his banquet.

It seems impossible to successfully fill any one of these roles, let alone all four at the same time. And it is impossible – totally and completely impossible – if I try it within my own power and wisdom. Only the Holy Spirit, working through me can successfully perform this balancing act.

Worshipping Jesus

Having a close, personal relationship with Jesus allows me to hear and respond to music that only He and I can hear. When I hear it I smile and others don’t know why. I move in rhythms and steps they do not understand.  I find satisfaction from dancing enthusiastically when others have not been aware there was any music for us to dance to.

Others may find my behavior a little strange, but Jesus and I don’t care. No one benefits when they criticize me for engaging in our fellowship dance. For some reason they seem to feel that “different” is wrong and praise dancing is somehow irreverent. I never want to disturb the worship of others, but I also never want to avoid Spirit-led activity.

Sometimes our relationship results in praise words rather than worship dancing. At such times I tend to sing too loud and ignore the worship leader on the platform. I may be the only one in the crowd that starts singing another verse when he is finished. I may get carried away and sing the song the way we used to sing it sixty years ago. Sometimes I forget I am not the only person in the room.

But Jesus and I don’t care. I think unison in worship is overrated, anyway.

Psalm 100

The Voice of God

Genesis 3:8 says that Adam and Eve heard the "voice of God walking in the garden." God was walking where they lived. I believe that God still walks where we live. But the voice of God takes many different forms. Here are some of them.
The honking of geese in night-time flight.
The hoot of an owl in pre-dawn light.
Mother, to child, whispering "It's all right."
These are the voice of God.

A mother's soft, gentle lullaby.
A newborn's first energetic cry.
The gurgle of a stream as it flows by.
These are the voice of God.

A small child saying "I love you."
A parent responding "I love you, too.
Let's play a game when dinner is through."
These are the voice of God.

The ocean's roar when there's a storm.
The crackling fire that keeps me warm.
A rooster's crow to welcome the morn.
These are the voice of God.

A father's firm, but loving, "No."
The distant cawing of a crow.
A cat's soft purr, steady and low.
These are the voice of God.

A child singing "Jesus loves me."
The in-flight buzz of a bumble bee.
The boom of thunder. It's plain to see
These are the voice of God.

The hiss of waves by a quiet sea.
An eagle's scream so wild and free.
A teen's "Thanks, Dad, for helping me."
These are the voice of God.

A red-bird's whistle, sharp and clear.
Rustling of leaves when autumn is here.
The whispering wind when pines are near.
These are the voice of God.

Thank you, Father, for your voice so clear.
Thank you, Abba, for letting me hear
And be reminded you're always near.
Thank you for speaking, dear God.

Satan’s Banquet

In hell the celebration had begun about 3:00 p.m. the previous Friday. The banquet hall had been the scene of continuous revelry for more than twenty-four hours. The greatest victory celebration of all time was in progress. The music continued to be loud and raucous. The dancing was becoming increasingly lewd as the jokes grew more and more vulgar. Congratulations were being heaped on the host by every guest as they tried to ingratiate themselves to him. Toast after toast was offered to honor the treachery that allowed him to win such a great victory.

This was the all-out, no-holds-barred victory party of all time. After all, the gathering was commemorating the most significant event to occur since the creation of the universe.

Jesus was dead!

Satan had won the battle. Evil was more powerful than good. The heavenly foe was forever defeated. Lucifer now had free reign in the lives of all people for all time. He could hardly contain his glee. He tingled with anticipation as he considered all the pain, agony, death and destruction he would create in the coming years.

Jesus was dead!

Never again would Satan’s efforts to destroy mankind be thwarted by Christ’s goodness, power and love.

Jesus was dead!

Then sometime early Sunday morning it happened. As suddenly as a lightening bolt but as gentle as a butterfly, Jesus appeared and stood in front of Satan.

The music stopped. Glasses of wine halted in mid-trip between table and mouth. Jokes remained without a punch line. There was no movement or sound anywhere in the hall. All eyes were riveted on Jesus, the man who could not be there.

For what seemed like hours, Jesus looked at Satan. Then He gradually became larger and larger while Satan became smaller and smaller. Everyone in the hall could see it happening. Soon Jesus loomed huge as Satan shrunk and seemed to back away, although he never moved at all.

The Jesus spoke. His quiet, controlled voice carried the power present only in the One who created the entire universe, including Satan himself. Though spoken softly the Messiah’s words carried to every corner of the universe and echoed into every eon of time.

“Oh death, where now is your victory? Oh grave, where now is your sting?” The He was gone. He simply vanished.

The demons looked at each other and then at Satan. Where moments before he had seemed a vibrant, victorious general, now he had the appearance of a deflated balloon.

Jesus was alive! The crucifixion had not been successful. The tomb was empty!

Jesus was alive! Satan’s death grip on mankind was forever destroyed.

Jesus was alive! God’s power to transform His children’s lives remained intact.

Jesus was alive! Satan was eternally defeated. There was nothing left to celebrate.

Slowly, one by one, the guests filed silently from the hall. Satan’s pathetic appearance discouraged them from even trying to give him some parting words of encouragement. Jesus was alive and He would remain alive for all eternity.

And Satan knew it!

The Disciples’ Easter Weekend

(Friday Night)
We thought He was the Messiah
The true and only one.
We thought he would restore us.
We thought he was God's son.
But now he's dead and in the tomb.
We don't know what to do.
He said "I will not leave you."
But we're scared, through and through.
(Saturday)
Years ago we left families
And followed, just like he said.
But then they nailed him to the cross.
Our hopes and dreams are dead.
Should we run or should we hide?
What is left for us here?
A week ago it was different.
I can still hear the crowd's cheers.
(Early Sunday Morning)
Hey! He's not in the tomb!
Mary just brought us the word.
She says he's back from the dead.
It's the best news I've ever heard.
Can't wait to see him for myself.
It's almost too good to be true.
Maybe he'll heal the sick and teach
Just like he used to do.

(Later Sunday?)
Jesus came into the room.
There's no doubt about it.
Everyone needs to know.
Let's all go out and shout it.
He is alive. He is alive.
You better believe it, friend.
He is all that he promised.
I'll never doubt again.