Sunday, March 8, 2009

Behold the Majesty of the King

Today let's think upon the majesty of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The first verses of the Gospel of John tell us that Jesus was with God before the beginning of time, and that the world was created through Him. And yet the Lord Jesus "...became flesh and made his dwelling among us" (John 1:14).

The most Holy King of Kings humbled Himself to become human and to die on our behalf. Let us pray to live our lives in gratitude to Jesus as we seek to honor Him through our actions and our words.

What comes to your mind when you think of the majesty of the Lord Jesus Christ?

Suggested Hymn:
“All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name” (Words: Edward Perronet, 1779. Music: Oliver Holden, 1792).

Scripture: "God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the Name that is above every name, that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).

Love Remains

The Lord has promised us that there are three things that bridge the gap from this world to the next: faith, hope, and love (1 Corinthians 13:13). Love is the greatest of these, and you may receive comfort from the fact that no matter what your circumstances may be, God’s love is with you.

Change can be so disturbing, but throughout the changes in our lives we can rest in the assurance of God’s love and provision.

List some ways that God’s love for you has provided for your needs.

Suggested Hymn:
Love Divine All Loves Excelling (Words: Charles Wesley, 1747. Music: John Zundel, 1870).

Scripture: “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him” (1 John 4:16).

If You Can't Think About Jesus, It's Sin!

I once heard two little girls discussing sin. One said, "How do I know if something is a sin or not?"

The second child said, "If you can't think about Jesus while you are doing it, then it's a sin!"

The first replied, "Well, I can't think about Jesus all the time."

Her friend assumed a pious look and answered, "I can."

Admirable though this child's dedication to be free of sin might be, you and I know that our human bodies and minds are genetically predisposed to sin. Our hope is in Christ and Christ alone. As we turn our eyes toward Jesus, His love and acceptance blesses our hearts with freedom to say, "No," to those habits of the flesh that do not glorify Him.

Is there anything that you would like to confess to your Lord now? He hears your heart, and forgives.

Prayer: Dear Lord, we ask Your forgiveness for those habits of speech, flesh, and behavior that do not stand up to Your light. Please bless our hearts with the gift of repentance, and renew us as we turn our eyes on You. Amen.

Suggested Hymn: “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” (Words and Music: Helen H. Lemmel, 1922).

Scripture: “Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live” (1 Thes. 5:16-18 NLT).

Think About God's Love

God shows His love for us in such a variety of ways. The beauty of a sunset shows us His glory, while the comfort provided by people who care for us reminds us of His love.

Take a moment now to think about the ways that God has shown His love to you.

Scripture: For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him....Psalm 103:11a NIV

Suggested praise song: "For the Beauty of the Earth” (Words: Folliot Pierpoint, 1864. Music: Conrad Kocher, 1838).

Prayer: Father, I praise You and thank You for Your love for me. Thank You for Jesus. Thank You for Your love.

The Lord's Benefit Package

I once told a friend about my new job as a summer school teacher. He effectively pricked a hole in my balloon of joy by asking, "Does this job carry any benefits?" My new job did not provide health insurance or a retirement plan and so in my friend's eyes was not of much value. I went home, opened my Bible, and found Psalm 103. The Lord reassured me that His benefit package is greater than any provided by human beings.

Here are the Lord's benefits as listed in Psalm 103:
• Forgives all your sins
• Heals all your diseases
• Redeems your life from the pit
• Crowns you with love and compassion
• Satisfies your desires with good things
• Renews your youth like the eagle's

Think of the ways that the Lord's provision for you has benefited you.

Scripture: “Praise the Lord, O my soul; and forget not all His benefits...” (Psalm 103:2).

Suggested hymn: "Count Your Blessings" (Words: Johnson Oatman, Jr., 1897. Music: Edwin Excell).

Prayer: Father, we praise You for the many blessings that You have provided us. Help us to remember Your benefits! Amen.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

We Don't Have to Earn God's Love

What a wonderful blessing it is to remember that God’s love does not depend on anything that we do to earn it. God’s love is a free gift through His beloved Son, Jesus Christ. When we are vexed with ourselves for falling short of Godly behavior, we can remember God’s great mercy and say, “Lord forgive me.” When we are vexed with others for making us feel worse rather than better, we can once again remember God’s mercy and know that divine love far outweighs the merits of human love. God’s unconditional love enables us both to forgive ourselves and to forgive others.

How do you know that God loves you?

Suggested Hymn: "Blessed Assurance" (Words: Fanny Crosby, 1873. Music: Phoebe P. Knapp).

Scripture: “Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith” (Hebrews 10:21-22).

Called, Loved, Kept

The first verse of the book of Jude says that as children of God we are called to be His. We are Loved. And we are kept in Him through Jesus Christ. Think of it!

Called! When did you first hear God's call for your life?

Loved by God the Father! In what ways do you see evidence of His love for you today?

What peace we have in knowing that we are kept in Him through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Suggested Hymn: “Sweet Peace, the Gift of God’s Love” (Words & Music: Peter P. Bilhorn, 1887).

Scripture: "To those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ: Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance" (Jude 1:1).