My Lord and My God

My Lord and My God

*Reflections:  

Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”

Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”  Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”– John 20:24-29

 When Thomas saw the resurrected Jesus, he exclaimed “My Lord and My God”. His eyes were open in belief as he saw the fullness of Jesus.

He saw his beloved Teacher and Friend, the one who calmed the storm upon the sea and calmed the storm inside his heart.

He saw the Provider who fed his hunger and thousands of others with a few loaves and some fish and fed the hunger inside him for more than this world could ever offer.

He saw the Healer who made the blind see and the lame walk and healed the brokenness inside his soul.

He saw that Jesus is Lord and God.

At that moment Thomas’s life was forever changed.

There are people today who would say Jesus is not divine or that Jesus never claimed to be God. Yet in this narrative we see Thomas worshipping Jesus as Lord and God. Jesus does not rebuke him, he accepts this worship.

And what was it that caused the Jewish leaders of the day to be so angry with Jesus and seek to have him eliminated? Was it mere jealousy over the large crowds following Jesus or the miraculous powers he displayed in their presence ? Were they merely infuriated over the poignant remarks Jesus used to call out their hypocrisy? Were they merely envious of the insightful teachings and parables Jesus used? While those certainly were some of their sentiments, the Jewish leaders were enraged because Jesus claimed to be God.

 John 8:54-59-

Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ But you have not known him. I know him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and I keep his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.

 They picked up stones to kill Jesus because in their eyes he was committing blasphemy (Leviticus 24:15-16). He used the name of God “I am” for Himself. ” I and the Father are one.” Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”  “We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”– John 10:30-33

But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?”

“I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven. “The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked.  “You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?” They all condemned him as worthy of death. Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, “Prophesy!” And the guards took him and beat him.- Mark 14:61-65

If Jesus is a mere mortal, solely a good man or a wise teacher, who met a tragic end on a Roman cross, there would be no reason to rejoice this Christmas. A detailed reading of the New Testament must make us wrestle with the claims Jesus made of himself and those the apostles made of him. Jesus claims to be one with the Father (John 10:30), sent from the Father (John 20:21), going back to the Father (John 16:28). He says He is the Christ, the Son of Man, the Son of God, etc. If Jesus is just a man, than He is a liar or a lunatic to make such claims. Liars are not “good” men. Lunatics don’t make trustworthy teachers.

Rather the New Testament writers say this about the divinity of Jesus:

* The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.

After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.– Hebrews 1:3

*For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”),

yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live;

and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.- 1 Corinthians 8:5-6

The true joy and hope of Christmas is not in the birth of a great prophet or a wise teacher. The joy and hope of Christmas is in the Incarnation. That God the Son would leave the throne room of Heaven to be born in human flesh to make a way for his beloved children to be close to Him once more. God knew that our good would never be “good enough”, so He lived the perfect life we never could. He gave the ultimate sacrifice of Himself to take the punishment we deserve. That is a love so inconceivable, so indescribable, so uncontainable.

That is a love that makes us rejoice. Not just on Christmas day, but EVERY day.

It is a love that makes us exclaim as Thomas did, “My Lord and My God!”

*Response:

May you be amazed at the glory of the Incarnation this Christmas,

Julie

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Bridegroom

bridegroom 

 *Reflections:

 Throughout scripture, Jesus is referred to as the Bridegroom or the Husband. The church is His Bride.

This is such a beautiful picture of how God loves us and cares for us. In the beginning, He betrothed us to Himself by creating us in His image and breathing life into us.

 

So God created man in His own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female He created them. Genesis 1:27

 

Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life,

and the man became a living creature. Genesis 2:7

The Bible has countless verses portraying God’s love for us. A husband loves and cares for his bride.

I love the verse in Zephaniah of God’s affection towards us:

The Lord Your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you,

He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. Zeph 3:17

God loves us, cares for us, and He wants to KNOW us. He wants us to have an intimate relationship with Him. Like every man and woman who enter into marriage, the relationship is critical. God doesn’t need us for anything. Marriage should occur out of a DESIRE to be together. A desire to seek each other out and know each other. God pursued us first, and that is how we can begin to want a relationship with Him.

In the New Testament, Jesus is born and a New Covenant is made with Him. The New Covenant represents the acceptance of Jesus Christ as God and Savior. We (God’s people/the church) are betrothed to Jesus until the marriage ceremony described in Revelation 19:7-9.  While we are engaged, we have the opportunity to prepare ourselves to meet Jesus face to face in heaven. As preparation, we get to know God intimately through a personal relationship with Him. Our bridegroom is coming!

Before you were married, did you talk about your fiancé and find time to be together? Did you talk on the phone for hours? Become giddy at the arrival of a love note or gift?

On your wedding day, did you go through the motions of getting dressed and ready or did you meticulously prepare yourself for hours (even…. weeks/months)? 😉

If your spouse went away for a month, would you anxiously await his return? Would you want to hear his voice? The day of his arrival, would you shower and put on fresh clothes? A little splash of perfume and a hint of blush? When the car drove in the driveway, would you run out to greet him?

What are you doing to prepare for reuniting with your Savior?   He is the Bridegroom.

He loves you! He pursues you! Only He can complete you.

 

                           For God so loved the World, that He sent His only begotten Son,

                  that whosoever believes in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life.

                                                                           John 3:16

*Response:

If you are married, how did you get to know your spouse before your wedding day?  If you aren’t married, how do you get to know your closest friends?

 

What do you do to develop your relationship with Christ?

 

God pursues a relationship with us. How have you sensed God pursuing you

Living In His Grace,

Lisa

 

 

 

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Friend

friends-52662_1280

*Reflections:

I struggle with this name of Jesus.

Friend?

That is a concept I’ve struggled with most of my life. I had few girlfriends growing up. I didn’t feel like I could relate well to other girls my age as a child. I was bullied in middle school. In high school and college I had lots of acquaintance friends, but there always seemed to be something holding me back from connecting on a deep level. Having kids young, it was hard to forge those connections because I was trapped at home with nap times and dirty diapers. I’m 39 years old, and it’s only been in the last 5 or so years that I’ve been able to develop authentic, deep relationships with other women. I know I’m not the only one who has struggled in this area as I continually hear from women that they feel isolated – their lonely hearts yearning for connection.

A part of me fears that by referring to Jesus as my friend I’m diminishing his majesty and might. Like we are just chums or something and we can meet for coffee or go shopping. But I don’t think this is the kind of friend this verse is referring to. He is so much more!

“He was, first of all, a most hearty and affectionate friend to guilty men. His whole soul was filled with love to men while they were yet sinners and enemies to Himself. It was this that made Him leave His Father’s court and all the royal ties of Heaven to come and be born in a stable, and laid in a manger—and to labor in a carpenter’s shop and to become the poorest of the poor and the most despised and rejected of men! All this was because He loved men, not only as men, but as guilty men. Their guilt excited His pity, for He knew the misery which lies concealed behind the apparent pleasure of sin. And to deliver guilty men from the consequences of their sin, He came to live where He could not have a place to lay His head, where, at the last, He did not even have a garment with which to cover His naked body! Our Lord Jesus was a truly sincere, intensely affectionate, earnest Friend—never before or after did any man have a nature so intensely affectionate as had the Lord Jesus Christ!….He never thought of sinners without love, never looked at them without pity, never heard their cruel words without returning them good wishes, never saw their miseries without being moved with compassion. He was a model of gentleness such as you and I may well desire to imitate, but shall never reach. He was ‘a friend of publicans and sinners’ in the intense affection of His heart.”  – Charles Spurgeon

Jesus is a friend of sinners. He is a friend of THIS sinner. I don’t have to wait until I’m cleaned up or have my act together. He desires an intimate relationship with me as I am. If there is one place I can be completely honest and vulnerable, it is with my friend Jesus. Jesus won’t discard me because I forget his birthday or I don’t look like the other girls. His love and delight for me is based on His goodness and grace. I will never be rejected by Jesus.

We see the concept of being a friend of Jesus explained in John 15:13-16 – “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”

We are no longer servants. A servant doesn’t have direct access to his master, but a friend does. As a friend of Jesus, we have immediate access to Him ALL the time. We don’t need to jump through hoops of righteousness. We don’t have to earn our way into the inner courts by completing a series of religious steps. Rather, we are welcomed as chosen friends. A servant doesn’t know the inner workings of his master, but as friends Jesus makes known to us the truths of the Father. He mercifully imparts this wisdom to us through His Word and Spirit.

We also see in these verses in John 15 that Jesus chose us to be His friends. We all know the sting of not being chosen – whether it was the boy who never called back, or not being picked for the dodgeball team in PE, or not being invited to the popular girl’s birthday party, or deeper wounds of rejection. But Jesus chose us. Not based on our attractiveness or athletic ability or who we know, but based solely on His love and mercy. In fact, we were God’s enemies – the polar opposite of friends, when Jesus said, “this one is my friend. I want to bring her back into a relationship with me.” Because Jesus chose me to be His friend, I know I will never be rejected.

“What a friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry Everything to God in prayer! Oh, what peace we often forfeit, Oh, what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry Everything to God in prayer.”

*Response:

Do you believe Jesus desires an intimate relationship with you?

 

What is the greatest obstacle to seeing Jesus as your friend?

 

How is your relationship with Jesus different than your earthly friendships?

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Teacher

teacher

*Reflections:

Surprisingly, the title most often used when Jesus is directly addressed in the gospels is not Savior or even Lord, it’s Teacher, Rabbi.

And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you,” and he said, “Rabbi, speak” Luke 7:40

And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, “Rabbi, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Luke 10:25 

And one of the company said unto him, “Rabbi, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me” Luke 12:13

And behold, a man came up to him and said, “Rabbi, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Matthew 19:16

And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Rabbi, rebuke your disciples” Luke 19:39

And they asked him, saying, “Rabbi, we know that you speak and teach rightly, and show no partiality, but teach the way of God truly…” Luke 20:21

Then there came to him some of the Sadducees…and they asked him, saying, “Rabbi…” Luke 20:27

Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher)” John 20:16

Jesus was recognized by a broad cross section of the people of His day as Rabbi. He was a well respected teacher, one learned in the Scriptures and the religious literature of His day, which was considerable. He was an itinerant preacher, traveling from place to place communicating to the masses his teachings and interpretations. And yet from the beginning, Jesus was no ordinary teacher.

When Nicodemus came to Jesus by night, he said, “We know that you are a teacher who has come from God” John 3:2

When Jesus had finished giving the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew tells us the crowds were so amazed at his teaching because “he taught as one having authority, not as the teachers of the law” Matthew 7:29

His words were life-giving and convicting, healing and mysterious, hopeful and provocative. When Jesus taught, He shook the foundation of the religious system and cut through the letter of the law straight to the heart of God, His Father. This rabbi was more than just teacher, He was prophet and healer – signs of the power of God at work in him by the Holy Spirit.

Consider for a moment the miracle and the mystery-

 this same scandalous Galilean Rabbi, who rocked 1st century Jewish society, appeared in risen form to Mary at the tomb, and altered the course of human history, appears to us today as we enter His presence! 

“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” Jeremiah 33:3

He came to teach the heart of the Father to His children. Sit at His feet today, friends, with ears to hear and hearts to hold the mysteries of the kingdom of God. Our teacher is speaking, are we listening?

*Response: 

Why is it important to you to spend time learning from Jesus each day?

What practical ways can you carve out more time to meet with God?

Held by Him,

Leslie

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Good Shepherd

goodshepherd

*Reflections:

1,000 years before the earthly appearance of the Good Shepherd, David described His goodness in song. The relationship between David and his God was as intimate and caring as a sheep and his shepherd. This role of a shepherd was familiar to God’s people. They knew the long term commitment a shepherd made to feed, tend and protect his flock. They understood each little lamb’s desperate dependence on the shepherd for their very survival. They were competely reliant on their gentle leader to provide for every need and guard against the many dangers that threatened to destroy them.

We were once sheep without a shepherd, lost and turned to our own way. So He set out in search of us, stopping at nothing to bring us home. And He rejoiced when we were found! Fix your eyes on Jesus today, your Good Shepherd is here.

“The Lord is my shepherd;”
Do you feel insignificant, unworthy, misunderstood? He knows your name. You belong to Him.

“I shall not want.”
Are you hungry, empty, longing? The Good Shepherd feeds His sheep. He may not give you what you want, but He will always provide what you need.

“He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.”
Do you feel tired, weary, and weak? Come to Him and He will give you REST. He will renew your strength. He will make you new.

“He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”
Are you struggling, confused, unsure what to do next? Your Shepherd doesn’t tell you about the way, He IS the Way. Take hold of His hand, He will lead you every step.

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
Are you paralyzed by anxiety and fear? Are you heart broken? Grief stricken? Crushed? He will draw you near, calm your fears and heal your wounds. He gathers His lambs and holds them close to His heart.

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”
Do you feel trapped by your circumstances? Oppressed by your adversaries? Helpless to overcome the battle before you? Though your enemies surround you, Your Shepherd keeps an ever watchful eye. He whispers, “Be at peace in every circumstance. I have overcome.”

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord  forever.”
Are you fearful of the future? Do you wonder what’s to come? Put aside all your anxious thoughts. Your future is secure! You will know the goodness of God in the land of the living. And because your Good Shepherd literally laid down His life for His sheep, you belong to the house of the Lord forever, a kingdom without end.

Draw near to your Good Shepherd, little lamb. You are safe in His fold.

*Response:

Which verse of Psalm 23 speaks most directly to your deepest current need? 

How is God offering to shepherd you in this area? 

In Him,

Leslie

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Immanuel

Immanuel

*Reflections:

How “God with us” changes everything…

Jesus is the Reason for the Season!

Throughout the month of December, we’ll read this over and over on billboards and bumper stickers and Christmas cards. Amidst millions of tiny sparkling lights and hundreds of white bearded Santas, followers of Christ will seek connection to the real meaning and message of the holidays. And for one group of believers, every single breath depends on it, as we grieve our way through Christmas.

This holiday season marks a decade that his stocking hangs empty. A stark reminder of the aching, empty place in our hearts for our first born child, Reed FitzGerald Jones. Taken with no warning, in peaceful sleep, from this world to that world of which we’ve only heard rumors. For a Jesus follower, death is the lightning jolt that moves us from “I have faith that it is real” to “My every single breath depends on the fact that it is real.” Paul’s statement to the Corinthians that if Jesus is not the Savior of the world we are “most to be pitied” is permanently etched like a tattoo on our foreheads. If it is not true we are done, crushed beyond repair.

That first Christmas after the death of our son was agony. Every decoration and party and present and Christmas card were reminders that the whole world kept moving while our world was buried beneath the cold hard ground in a tiny wooden box. I wanted nothing more than to fast forward through that warm and fuzzy December to a bare, bleak January when the outside world would match the dreary darkness in my heart.

And then came a very unexpected gift, a song I’d sung all my life, but heard for the very first time that Sunday morning. It was dark and desperate and full of pain, just like my heart. It was the haunting, yet hopeful cries of a people longing for their Savior. And it changed everything. 

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o’er the grave
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel

As I grieved my way through Christmas, I really, truly understood in a way I never had before. My pain had given me clarity of vision, eyes to see past the sweetness and nostalgia of the holidays to the earth shattering power of the Creator sending a little baby in a manger to rescue us from sin and from death. To the miracle that He came for us and the promise that He is coming again to make “all things new.”

No one needs to tell the grieving Christian to remember the Reason for the Season. The true message of Christmas is the reason we open our eyes in the morning and can make it through the day, and the month of December, and the rest of our lives. We have wrestled through the deepest questions of faith and doubt. We’ve wondered if it is all just one big made up story. And no opiate of the masses or tradition passed down from our fathers or feel good fairy tales are adequate to ease the pain of our loss. No, it is only Emmanuel, God with us, who is strong enough to bear the weight of grief in a mother’s empty arms.

We know with certainty that every ounce of hope for healing rests on that baby in a manger.

And now, ten years later, I am okay with the hustle and bustle around me. I am okay with the decorations and the presents and the parties. I am okay with the world moving on. Because He holds me day in and day out, season after season, year after year. And He draws me especially close during the holidays, whispering promises of a kingdom to come and a reunion with my son. My very favorite part of Christmas is gathering together with the body of Christ to proclaim the power of what His Advent means for us all. These hymns feel fresh and new and alive each year. They are a hopeful, healing balm that allow me to worship with a beautiful intensity and gratitude birthed out of my grief and His comfort.

*Response:

What in your life has caused the deepest wounding? 

How does Immanuel, God with us, bring comfort to you in your pain? 

Held by Him,

Leslie

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Redeemer

redeemer

*Reflections:

Imagine a woman. Caught in adultery. In the very act. Dragged into court to be judged, her sin on display for all to see. Knowing for sure that her death is imminent, she shrinks back with feelings of shame, despair, humiliation, and hopelessness.

According to the law, she is to be stoned for her sin. No questions asked, no second chances. Death. However, instead of facing a judge who would uphold the law, she stands before Jesus, full of grace and compassion. “I do not condemn you,” He says. “Go, and sin no more.”

REDEEMED

Imagine the depth of gratitude this woman must have felt. Her life literally spared by this man, Jesus. The law broken and grace applied. In essence, Jesus bought back her life.

You and I are just like the woman caught in adultery. Our sin may or may not be that of an affair. Perhaps its the telling of half truths, coveting, acting in anger, hate, jealousy, gossip, and greed. Regardless, “we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory” (Romans 3:23). And our sin separates us from God, when He created us to be in relationship with Him. We need a Redeemer.

Long before this world was even created, God had a plan to redeem His people. He knew that we would fall. That we would be slaves to sin and that there would be nothing that we could do to fix the great divide between our sin and a holy God. And because of His great love for us, He devised a plan. He sent His only Son, Jesus, to this earth who humbled Himself and took on flesh and became our Redeemer.

The term “redeem” means to “gain or regain possession of something in exchange for payment. To buy back. To make something that is bad acceptable.”

These are the exact things that Jesus did for us as our Redeemer. He purchased our lives with His precious blood, which was shed on the cross. This finished work, His death and resurrection, forever redeemed us.

We are redeemed from the slavery of sin:

Our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin” (Romans 6:6)

And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death” (Romans 8:2).

We are redeemed from the Law:

But Christ has redeemed us from the curse pronounced by the law. When He was hung on the cross, He took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree” (Galatians 3:13).

We are redeemed from death:

‘Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? 
Where, O death, is your sting? ‘The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:54b-57).

We are redeemed from our old selves:

Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

We are redeemed from the power of Satan:

[Jesus] gave Himself for our sins so that He could rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father” (Galatians 1:4).

For He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of His beloved Son …” (Colossians 1:13).

We are redeemed from empty religion:

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. ” (1 Peter 1:18-19).

Redemption defines who we are.

Like the woman caught in adultery, Jesus literally stepped in and changed our fate by rescuing us from death. Because of this, the Law does not determine our future. Sin does not have to control us. Satan will not have the victory in our lives. We can walk in a manner worthy of our calling. We can make choices that are honoring to Christ. We can operate from a place of love even with those who are unloveable. And regardless of what we do or don’t do, we are loved, chosen, accepted, forgiven, and treasured.

Redemption is both immediate and a process. While those of us who are in Christ Jesus have been given a different identity and inheritance by our Redeemer, there is still the sanctification that must happen here on earth. And throughout this process, Jesus offers Himself to us. In whatever situation or condition we find ourselves, our Redeemer longs to be gracious to us. He longs to pour out compassion and meet us in our time of need. By His blood, He has made a way for us to come to Him in confidence.

Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

*Response:

  • Think back again to the woman caught in adultery. Think about the depth of her gratitude for her life being spared and her sins being forgiven. Ask God by His Spirit to create in you true gratitude for His redemption in your life.

  • Is there an area of your life where you need redemption? Call out to your Redeemer and ask Him for help.
  • Write a prayer to Jesus thanking Him for being your Redeemer.

Anchored in Christ,

Carrie

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Savior

 

Savior (1)

 

*Reflections:

But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”– Matthew 1:20-21

Jesus. Yeshua. The Lord of Lord and Kings of Kings would become human and bear that name. A name that means “The Lord is Salvation”. Before he was even born, the angel announced his purpose to Joseph and Mary. Their child would one day save His people from their sins. He would be the Savior of the world. We have already looked at Jesus being The Lord. “The Lord is Salvation” Jesus is our Salvation. He is our Savior.

 

Savior.

That name carries such weight

the weight of

hundreds of years of God’s continual redemptive acts

hundreds of mighty works of grace and mercy

hundreds of acts of love

hundreds of prophecies

hundreds of groaning prayers

hundreds of centuries toiled in waiting

hundreds of tears shed in the darkest pits

hundreds of animal sacrifices

hundreds of good deeds done in the attempt to be “good enough”

Savior.

It bore the weight of a heavy wooden cross upon a blood smeared back

It bore the weight of God’s wrath over the sin of His people

And the Savior rose victoriously

The Savior removed the guilt of sin through his sinless sacrifice

The Savior removed the power of sin by filling His people with His sanctifying spirit

The Savior removed the presence of sin by making a way to be in His holy presence for all eternity

The Mighty. The Magnificent. The Creator. The King. He took this name-

Savior.

Jesus is mighty to save.

Who is this who comes from Edom,
    in crimsoned garments from Bozrah,
he who is splendid in his apparel,
    marching in the greatness of his strength?
“It is I, speaking in righteousness,
    mighty to save.”– Isaiah 63:1

“Christ is not only mighty to save those who repent, but He is able to make men repent! He is engaged not merely to carry those to heaven who believe, but He is mighty to give men new hearts and to work faith in them. He is mighty not merely to give heaven to one who wishes for it, but He is mighty to make the man who hates holiness, love it, to constrain the despiser of His name to bend his knee before Him and to make the most abandoned reprobate turn from the error of his ways!”- Charles Spurgeon, Sermon #111

In Jesus is all power to save. He is Salvation. He is the Savior.

*Response:

Pray and thank Jesus for being your Savior.

Pray for those in your life who do not know Jesus as their Savior. Entrust them to the One Who is mighty to save.

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Lord of All

lord of all

*Reflections:

What’s in a name?

If you have been following along with our Advent study this December, you have seen some of the many titles given to Jesus throughout Scripture. Some were attributed to Him from others, some He spoke of Himself and yet others derive from Old Testament prophecies. It’s in these many names that our human minds, finite as they are, can begin to describe a Being so majestic and almighty as the Creator and Sustainer, God Himself. Mere words cannot express or attain to such greatness. Yet this name, Lord… it has gripped me as I’ve prepared this post. It has drawn me in to the very heartbeat of God and left me breathless, amazed, astonished, mesmerized by One so magnificent, yet willing to be known, willing to draw near to us.

In Exodus, Moses meets God in a burning bush, “I am”. God continues to draw Moses close, to show His glory, “I am the Lord.”

Exodus 6:2-8

God spoke to Moses and said to him, “I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by my name the Lord I did not make myself known to them. I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they lived as sojourners. Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the people of Israel whom the Egyptians hold as slaves, and I have remembered my covenant. Say therefore to the people of Israel, ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment.  I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. I will bring you into the land that I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. I will give it to you for a possession. I am the Lord.’

God’s glory would be manifested through rescuing His people, delivering them from bondage. Redemption. Adoption. He would be known.

Through the prophet Isaiah, God spoke of this redemption again. The Lord. The Savior. No other. This rescue would be a release from forever bondage, pain, brokenness, and sin.

Declare and present your case;
    let them take counsel together!
Who told this long ago?
    Who declared it of old?
Was it not I, the Lord?
    And there is no other god besides me,
a righteous God and a Savior;
    there is none besides me.

Turn to me and be saved,
    all the ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other. – Isaiah 45:21,22

Paul quotes this passage from Isaiah in describing the exalted position of Jesus Christ in Philippians 2:5-11.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,  but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so 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.

Lord. Adonai. Kyrios. A name so utterly powerful that all created beings will humbly be made low before Him. A name so powerful it can SAVE.

Romans 10:9-13

because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”  

For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.

For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Cry out “Jesus is Lord.”

Bow before your master.

Fall flat in humility.

Raise hands in praise.

Shout for joy.

Sing in the words of the psalmist,

 O Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
    Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
    to still the enemy and the avenger.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
    the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
    and the son of man that you care for him?

Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
    and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
    you have put all things under his feet,
all sheep and oxen,
    and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
    whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

O Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth.

*Response:

Pray in humility thanking Jesus for being our Lord.

Is there an area of your life that needs to be brought under the Lordship of Christ?

 

Do you trust in the name of Jesus to save you, not just eternally, but for the present as well?

 

 

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King of Kings

kingofkings

*Reflections:

The Israelites lived under the omnipotent rule of Almighty God. When He heard their cries and groanings because of their slavery to Egypt, He sent a deliverer to bring them out by amazing, miraculous acts. He brought them to their promised land, and established them as a nation. In our fallen state, we have always struggled against the lie that God doesn’t really love us or that we could do a better job with the rule of our lives. So it was with Israel.

So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah and said to him…“now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.” But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD. And the LORD told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.” 1 Samuel 8:4-9

For the next 8 verses, Samuel laid out the consequences of having an earthly king and all that this king would take from the people. Yet, they rejected the rule of the immortal, invisible, only wise God for that of a finite man.

And as the generations passed, God’s people lived within the consequences of having a man king. Once again, they groaned for deliverance. Once again, God sent a Deliverer, the King of all kings. The One who would establish God’s Kingdom here on the earth. But He did not rule as the people expected Him to. He did not come with sword and shield, but He came with love and healing, delivering people one by one, from the inside out! He did not take from His people, but He gave. He ruled by serving and ushered His Kingdom in through the hearts of men. This great King humbled Himself unto death in order to bring each one of us into His Kingdom:

Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Therefore 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 acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:6-11

So we see Jesus, now, exalted to the highest place. There is no name that is higher than His. There is no ruler that does not bow his knee to Him. There is no earthly king that moves or acts outside of the sovereign hand of the King of kings and Lord of lords. Whom or what should we fear?

We can wait full of hope for the return of Jesus, when He will come to establish His kingdom, not only in our hearts, but on the earth. Come, Lord Jesus!

Revelation 19:11-16
I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:
KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

*Response:

1. Do you ever struggle with the feeling that God’s isn’t “getting it right” when it comes to your life? I know I have! Do you relate to the Israelites who felt like they had a better plan?

2. What do you feel keeps you from surrendering to the kingship of Jesus Christ in your life?

3. What battles are you facing that cause you to fear? How do you sense God calling you to trust and believe more deeply?

Live Free. Live Loved.
~Kerri

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