Monthly Archives: April 2009

God Sees You



“And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid.

You are worth more than many sparrows.”

Matthew 10:30-31 (NIV)

By T. Susan Eller

Recently Darrin came up to me in the hallway at church. “Ten years!” he said, grabbing me and crushing me in a bear hug.

Wow. Ten years. It doesn’t seem possible. You see, ten years ago Darrin was 21 when he tried to take his life. Someone found him and called for help. The doctors said he’s fortunate he didn’t die, but for a long time after the attempt Darrin felt anything but lucky. It was hard for me to understand his perspective, but the fact that his suicide attempt didn’t work was one more “failure” in this broken young man’s mind.

Darrin left the hospital and came to live with our family for the next two years. We had a front row seat as we watched God perform a miracle. It wasn’t easy, but Darrin began a journey to wholeness. He started to understand what it meant to be a child of God. He discovered who he was, separate from his past, separate from what people thought or spoke about him.

Today Darrin is a licensed pastor. He is married to a beautiful woman named Sarah. He is a father to three young children, and he loves and delights in each of them. His oldest daughter is named Abi , after Abba — Heavenly Father — a reminder that she is one of many gifts from God.

Darrin is healed in every way, but he has not forgotten where he once was and that’s why he allows me to share his story today. It’s also why he shares it one-on-one with others who find themselves in a similar place. This type of anniversary might be one that some would want to forget, but Darrin sees it as a day to celebrate life and second chances. His story offers a powerful message: that when others have given up on you, or maybe you’ve even given up on yourself, there is still hope.

For some, like Darrin, depression wraps around life choices. You may experience a chemical imbalance. Or, feelings of hopelessness might result from emotional or physical exhaustion. While it can take time to pinpoint the root cause, it’s vital that you know from this moment on that God sees you. He loves you and He cares. He’s a God of hope and healing. So today I pray that you will feel His arms reaching for you, just like he did my friend Darrin.

Dear Lord, I believe that today a woman is reading this who believes she has been forgotten. I thank you that You will wrap Your love around her and remind her that You are with her. May she know You see her, and that she is precious and valuable in Your sight. Give her hope, wisdom, peace and renewed joy, beginning today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

We need to differentiate between a bad day or a series of bad days and depression. Dr. Leslie Vernick has created a test you can take called How Do I Know If I’m Depressed to help discern the difference. Please seek professional help if you have three or more symptoms of depression.

When someone we care about is depressed, it is hard to know what to say. Sometimes we try to talk them out of it by saying things like:

* “Just trust God.”

* “Just get over it.”
* “If you would just do …”
* “You have lots going for you. You shouldn’t feel so bad.”

These statements are not helpful because they make the person feel ashamed of being depressed. They want to get well, but it is usually not that simple. Instead, we can encourage them by first, listening. And also by:

* Giving a hug — touch is powerful.
* Letting them know you’ll do whatever it takes to help, then do it. (Drive them to a counselor’s appointment, pray for them daily, etc.)
* Let them talk, or cry.
* Ask them how you can pray for them, and write down their answer.
* Let them know though you may not fully understand what they feel, you care about what they are going through.

Reflections:

Do I believe that God cares about me?

Do I know the God of hope and healing?

Am I willing to take steps toward wholeness?

Power Verses:

Psalm 42:11, ” Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” (KJV)

Psalm 71:5 , ” For thou art my hope, O Lord God: Thou art my trust from my youth.” (KJV)

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THE NAMES OF GOD


OLD TESTAMENT NAMES FOR GOD

EL: God (“mighty, strong, prominent”) used 250 times in the OT See Gen. 7:1, 28:3, 35:11; Nu. 23:22; Josh. 3:10; 2 Sam. 22:31, 32; Neh. 1:5, 9:32; Isa. 9:6; Ezek. 10:5. El is linguistically equivalent to the Moslem “Allah,” but the attributes of Allah in Islam are entirely different from those of the God of the Hebrews. ELAH is Aramaic, “god.” Elah appears in the Hebrew Bible in Jer. 10:11 (which is in Aramaic, and is plural, “gods”). In Daniel (the Aramaic sections) Elah is used both of pagan gods, and of the true God, also plural. Elah is equivalent to the Hebrew Eloah which some think is dual; Elohim is three or more. The gods of the nations are called “elohim.” The origin of Eloah is obscure. Elohim is the more common plural form of El. Eloah is used 41 times in Job between 3:4 and 40:2, but fewer than 15 times elsewhere in the OT.

ELOHIM: God (a plural noun, more than two, used with singular verbs); Elohim occurs 2,570 times in the OT, 32 times in Gen. 1. God as Creator, Preserver, Transcendent, Mighty and Strong. Eccl., Dan. Jonah use Elohim almost exclusively. See Gen. 17:7, 6:18, 9:15, 50:24; I Kings 8:23; Jer. 31:33; Isa. 40:1.

EL SHADDAI: God Almighty or “God All Sufficient.” 48 times in the OT, 31 times in Job. First used in Gen. 17:1, 2. (Gen. 31:29, 49:24, 25; Prov. 3:27; Micah 2:1; Isa. 60:15, 16, 66:10-13; Ruth 1:20, 21) In Rev. 16:7, “Lord God the Almighty.” The Septuagint uses Greek “ikanos” meaning “all-sufficient” or “self-sufficient.” The idols of the heathen are called “sheddim.”
ADONAI: Lord in our English Bibles (Capitol letter ‘L ‘, lower case, ‘ord’) (Adonai is plural, the sing. is “adon”). “Master” or “Lord” 300 times in the OT always plural when referring to God, when sing. the reference is to a human lord. Used 215 times to refer to men. First use of Adonai, Gen. 15:2. (Ex. 4:10; Judges 6:15; 2 Sam. 7:18-20; Ps. 8, 114:7, 135:5, 141:8, 109:21-28). Heavy use in Isaiah (Adonai Jehovah). 200 times by Ezekiel. Ten times in Dan. 9.

JEHOVAH: LORD in our English Bibles (all capitals). Yahweh is the covenant name of God. Occurs 6823 times in the OT First use Gen. 2:4 (Jehovah Elohim). From the verb “to be”, havah, similar to chavah (to live), “The Self-Existent One,” “I AM WHO I AM” or ‘I WILL BE WHO I WILL BE” as revealed to Moses at the burning bush, Ex.3. The name of God, too sacred to be uttered, abbreviated ( . . . . ) or written “YHWH” without vowel points. The tetragrammaton. Josh., Judges, Sam., and Kings use Jehovah almost exclusively. The love of God is conditioned upon His moral and spiritual attributes. (Dan. 9:14; Ps. 11:7; Lev. 19:2; Hab. 1:12). Note Deut. 6:4, 5 known to Jews as the Sh’ma uses both Jehovah and Elohim to indicate one God with a plurality of persons.

JEHOVAH-JIREH: “The Lord will Provide.” Gen. 22:14. From “jireh” (“to see” or “to provide,” or to “foresee” as a prophet.) God always provides, adequate when the times come.

JEHOVAH-ROPHE: “The Lord Who Heals” Ex. 15:22-26. From “rophe” (“to heal”); implies spiritual, emotional as well as physical healing. (Jer. 30:17, 3:22; Isa. 61:1) God heals body, soul and spirit; all levels of man’s being.
JEHOVAH-NISSI: “The Lord Our Banner.” Ex. 17:15. God on the battlefield, from word which means “to glisten,” “to lift up,” See Psalm 4:6.

JEHOVAH-M’KADDESH: “The Lord Who Sanctifies” Lev. 20:8. “To make whole, set apart for holiness.”
JEHOVAH-SHALOM: “The Lord Our Peace” Judges 6:24. “Shalom” translated “peace” 170 times means “whole,” “finished,” “fulfilled,” “perfected.” Related to “well,” welfare.” Deut. 27:6; Dan. 5:26; I Kings 9:25 8:61; Gen. 15:16; Ex. 21:34, 22:5, 6; Lev. 7:11-21. Shalom means that kind of peace that results from being a whole person in right relationship to God and to one’s fellow man.

SHEPHERD: Psa. 23, 79:13, 95:7, 80:1, 100:3; Gen. 49:24; Isa. 40:11.

JUDGE: Psa. 7:8, 96:13.
JEHOVAH ELOHIM: “LORD God” Gen. 2:4; Judges 5:3; Isa. 17:6; Zeph. 2:9; Psa. 59:5, etc.
JEHOVAH-TSIDKENU “The Lord Our Righteousness” Jer. 23:5, 6, 33:16. From “tsidek” (straight, stiff, balanced – as on scales – full weight, justice, right, righteous, declared innocent.) God our Righteousness.

JEHOVAH-ROHI: “The Lord Our Shepherd” Psa. 23, from “ro’eh” (to pasture).

JEHOVAH-SHAMMAH: The Lord is There” (Ezek. 48:35).

JEHOVAH-SABAOTH: “The Lord of Hosts” The commander of the angelic host and the armies of God. Isa. 1:24; Psa. 46:7, 11; 2 Kings 3:9-12; Jer. 11:20 (NT: Rom. 9:29; James 5:4, Rev. 19: 11-16).

EL ELYON: ‘Most High” (from “to go up”) Deut. 26:19, 32:8; Psa. 18:13; Gen. 14:18; Nu. 24:16; Psa. 78:35, 7:17, 18:13, 97:9, 56:2, 78:56, 18:13; Dan. 7:25, 27; Isa. 14:14.

ABHIR: ‘Mighty One’, (“to be strong”) Gen. 49:24; Deut. 10:17; Psa. 132:2, 5; Isa. 1:24, 49:26, 60:1.

BRANCH: (tsemach), The Branch: Zech. 3:8, 6:12; Isa. 4:2; Jer. 23:5, 33:15.

KADOSH: “Holy One” Psa. 71:22; Isa. 40:25, 43:3, 48:17. Isaiah uses the expression “the Holy One of Israel” 29 times.

SHAPHAT: “Judge” Gen. 18:25

EL ROI: “God of Seeing” Hagar in Gen. 16:13. The God Who opens our eyes.

KANNA: “Jealous” (zealous). Ex. 20:5, 34:14; Deut. 5:9; Isa. 9:7; Zech. 1:14, 8:2.

PALET: “Deliverer” Psa. 18:2.

YESHUA: (Yeshua) “Savior” (“he will save”). Isa. 43:3. Jesus is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew “Joshua.” The latter is a contraction of Je-Hoshua. (“Christ”, the anointed one is equivalent to the Hebrew Maschiah, or Messiah). [

GAOL: “Redeemer” (to buy back by paying a price). Job 19:25; For example, the antitype corresponding to Boaz the Kinsman-Redeemer in the Book of Ruth.

MAGEN: “Shield” Psa. 3:3, 18:30.

STONE: Gen. 49:24

EYALUTH: “Strength” Psa. 22:19.

TSADDIQ: “Righteous One” Psa. 7:9.

EL-OLAM: “Everlasting God” (God of everlasting time) Gen. 21:33; Psa. 90:1-3, 93:2; Isa. 26:4.

EL-BERITH: “God of the Covenant” Used of Baal in Judges 9:46. Probably used originally to refer to the God of israel.

EL-GIBHOR: Mighty God (Isa. 9:6)

ZUR: “God our Rock” Deut. 32:18; Isa. 30:29.

Malachi calls Messiah “The Sun of Righteousness” (Malachi 4:2).

Isaiah calls Messiah “Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God (El Gibhor), Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9:6).

‘Attiq Yomin (Aramaic): “Ancient of Days,” Dan. 7:9, 13, 22.

MELEKH: “King” Psa. 5:2, 29:10, 44:4, 47:6-8, 48:2, 68:24, 74:12, 95:3, 97:1, 99:4, 146:10; Isa. 5:1, 5, 41:21, 43:15, 44:6; 52:7, 52:10.

“The Angel of the Lord: ” Gen. 16:7ff, 21:17, 22:11, 15ff, 18:1-19:1, 24:7, 40, 31:11-13, 32:24-30; Ex. 3:6, 13:21, Ezek. 1:10-13. Seen in the theophanies, or pre-incarnate appearances of the Son of God in the OT (See I Cor. 10:3 NT).

FATHER: 2 Sam. 7:14-15; Psa. 68:5; Isa. 63:16, 64:8; Mal. 1:6.

MORE NAMES OF GOD in the New Testament

ABBA………………………..Romans 8:15

ADVOCATE…………………….I John 2:1 (kjv)

ALMIGHTY…………………….Genesis 17:1

ALPHA……………………….Revelation 22:13

AMEN………………………..Revelation 3:14

ANCIENT OF DAYS………………Daniel 7:9

ANOINTED ONE…………………Psalm 2:2

APOSTLE……………………..Hebrews 3:1

ARM OF THE LORD………………Isaiah 53:1

AUTHOR OF LIFE……………….Acts 3:15

AUTHOR OF OUR FAITH…………..Hebrews 12:2

BEGINNING……..
……………..Revelation 21:6

BLESSED & HOLY RULER…………..1 Timothy 6:15

BRANCH……………………….Jeremiah 33:15

BREAD OF GOD………………….John 6:33

BREAD OF LIFE…………………John 6:35

BRIDEGROOM……………………Isaiah 62:56

BRIGHT MORNING STAR……………Revelation 22:16

CHIEF SHEPHERD…………………1 Peter 5:4

CHOSEN ONE…………………….Isaiah 42:1

CHRIST………………………..Matthew 22:42

CHRIST OF GOD………………….Luke 9:20

CHRIST THE LORD………………..Luke 2:11

CHRIST, SON OF LIVING GOD……….Matthew 16:16

COMFORTER……………………..John 14:26(kjv)

COMMANDER……………………..Isaiah 55:4

CONSOLATION OF ISRAEL……………Luke 2:25

CONSUMING FIRE………………….Deut. 4:24, Heb. 12:29

CORNERSTONE…………………….Isaiah 28:16

COUNSELOR………………………Isaiah 9:6

CREATOR………………………..1 Peter 4:19

DELIVERER…………………………Romans 11:26

DESIRED OF ALL NATIONS……………..Haggai 2:7

DOOR……………………………..John 10:7(kjv)

END………………………………Revelation 21:6

ETERNAL GOD……………………….Deut. 33:27

EVERLASTING FATHER…………………Isaiah 9:6

FAITHFUL & TRUE……………………Revelation 19:11

FAITHFUL WITNESS…………………..Revelation 1:5

FATHER……………………………Matthew 6:9

FIRSTBORN (3)………………………………….Rom.8:29,Rev.1:5,Col.1:15

FIRSTFRUITS……………………….1 Cor.15:20-23

FOUNDATION………………………..1 Cor. 3:11

FRIEND OF TAX COLLECTORS & SINNERS…..Matthew 11:19

GENTLE WHISPER…………………….1 Kings 19:12

GIFT OF GOD……………………….John 4:10

GLORY OF THE LORD………………….Isaiah 40:5

GOD………………………………Genesis 1:1

GOD ALMIGHTY………………………Genesis 17:1

GOD OVER ALL………………………Romans 9:5

GOD WHO SEES ME……………………Genesis 16:13

GOOD SHEPHERD……………………..John 10:11

GREAT HIGH PRIEST………………….Hebrews 4:14

GREAT SHEPHERD…………………….Hebrews 13:20

GUIDE…………………………….Psalm 48:14

HEAD OF THE BODY…………………..Colossians 1:18

HEAD OF THE CHURCH…………………Ephesians 5:23

HEIR OF ALL THINGS…………………Hebrews 1:2

HIGH PRIEST……………………….Hebrews 3:1

HIGH PRIEST FOREVER………………..Hebrews 6:20

HOLY ONE………………………….Acts 2:27

HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL…………………Isaiah 49:7

HOLY SPIRIT……………………….John 16:26

HOPE……………………………..Titus 2:13

HORN OF SALVATION………………….Luke 1:69

I AM………………………………Exodus 3:14, John 8:58

IMAGE OF GOD……………………….2 Cor. 4:4

IMAGE OF HIS PERSON…………………Hebrews 1:3 (kjv)

IMMANUEL…………………………..Isaiah 7:14

JEALOUS…………………………Exodus 34:14 (kjv)

JEHOVAH…………………………Psalm 83:18 (kjv)

JESUS…………………………..Matthew 1:21

JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD…………….Romans 6:23

JUDGE…………………………..Isaiah 33:22, Acts 10:42

KING……………………………Zechariah 9:9

KING ETERNAL…………………….1 Timothy 1:17

KING OF KINGS……………………1 Timothy 6:15

KING OF THE AGES…………………Revelation 15:3

LAMB OF GOD………………………John 1:29

LAST ADAM………………………..1 Cor. 15:45

LAWGIVER…………………………Isaiah 33:22

LEADER…………………………..Isaiah 55:4

LIFE…………………………….John 14:6

LIGHT OF THE WORLD………………..John 8:12

LIKE AN EAGLE…………………….Deut. 32:11

LILY OF THE VALLEYS……………….Song 2:1

LION OF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH…………Revelation 5:5

LIVING STONE……………………..1 Peter 2:4

LIVING WATER……………………..John 4:10

LORD…………………………….John 13:13

LORD GOD ALMIGHTY…………………Revelation 15:3

LORD JESUS CHRIST…………………1 Cor. 15:57

LORD OF ALL………………………Acts 10:36

LORD OF GLORY ……………………1 Cor. 2:8

LORD OF LORDS…………………….1 Tim. 6:15

LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS…………..Jeremiah 23:6

LOVE……………………………1 John 4:8

MAN OF SORROWS…………………….Isaiah 53:3

MASTER…………………………….Luke 5:5

MEDIATOR…………………………..1 Timothy 2:5

MERCIFUL GOD……………………….Jeremiah 3:12

MESSENGER OF THE COVENANT…………….Malachi 3:1

MESSIAH…………………………… John 4:25

MIGHTY GOD………………………….Isaiah 9:6

MIGHTY ONE………………………….Isaiah 60:16

NAZARENE……………………………Matthew 2:23

OFFSPRING OF DAVID…………………..Revelation 22:16

OMEGA………………………………Revelation 22:13

ONLY BEGOTTEN SON……………………John 1:18(kjv)

OUR PASSOVER LAMB……………………1 Cor. 5:7

OUR PEACE…………………………..Ephesians 2:14

POTTER……………………………..Isaiah 64:8

POWER OF GOD………………………..1 Cor. 1:24

PRINCE OF PEACE……………………..Isaiah 9:6

PROPHET…………………………….Acts 3:22

PURIFIER……………………………Malachi 3:3

RABBONI (TEACHER)……………………John 20:16

RADIANCE OF GOD’S GLORY………………Heb.1:3

REDEEMER……………………………Job 19:25

REFINER’S FIRE………………………Malachi 3:2

RESURRECTION………………………..John 11:25

RIGHTEOUS ONE……………………….1 John 2:1

ROCK……………………………….1 Cor.10:4

ROOT OF DAVID……………………….Rev. 22:16

ROSE OF SHARON………………………Song 2:1

RULER OF GOD’S CREATION………………Rev. 3:14

RULER OVER KINGS OF EARTH…………….Rev 1:5

RULER OVER ISRAEL……………………Micah 5:2

SAVIOR……………………………..Luke 2:11

SCEPTER OUT OF ISRAEL………………..Numbers 24:17

SEED……………………………….Genesis 3:15

SERVANT…………………………….Isaiah 42:1

SHEPHERD OF OUR SOULS………………..1Peter 2:25

SHIELD……………………………..Genesis 15:1

SON OF DAVID………………………..Matthew 1:1

SON OF GOD………………………….Matthew 27:54

SON OF MAN………………………….Matthew 8:20

SON OF THE MOST HIGH…………………Luke 1:32

SOURCE……………………………..Hebrews 5:9

SPIRIT OF GOD……………………….Genesis 1:2

STAR OUT OF JACOB……………………Numbers 24:17

STONE………………………………1 Pe

ter 2:8

SUN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS…………………Malachi 4:2

TEACHER……………………………..John 13:13

TRUE LIGHT…………………………..John 1:9

TRUE WITNESS…………………………Revelation 3:14

TRUTH……………………………….John 14:6

VINE………………………………..John 15:5

WAY………………………………….John 14:6

WISDOM OF GOD…………………………1 Cor. 1:24

WITNESS………………………………Isaiah 55:4

WONDERFUL…………………………….Isaiah 9:6

WORD…………………………………John 1:1

WORD OF GOD…………………………..Revelation 19:13

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CONTENTMENT


Monday, April 13, 2009
By David Wilkerson

Contentment was a huge test in Paul’s life. After all, God said he would use him mightily: “He is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel” (Acts 9:15). When Paul first received this commission, “straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God” (9:20).

Paul was in no hurry to see everything fulfilled in his lifetime. He knew he had an ironclad promise from God, and he clung to it. For the present moment, he was content to minister wherever he was: witnessing to a jailer, to a sailor, to a few women on a riverbank. This man had a worldwide commission, yet he was faithful to testify one-on-one.

Nor was Paul jealous of younger men who seemed to pass him by. While they traveled the world winning Jews and Gentiles to Christ, Paul sat in prison. He had to listen to reports of great crowds being converted by men he’d battled with over the gospel of grace. Yet Paul didn’t envy those men. He knew that a Christ-surrendered man knows how to abase as well as abound: “Godliness with contentment is great gain…and having food and raiment [clothing] let us be therewith content” (1 Timothy 6:6, 8).

The world today might say to Paul, “You are at the end of your life now. Yet you have no savings, no investments. All you have is a change of clothes.” I know what Paul’s answer would be: “Oh, but I’ve won Christ. I tell you, I’m the winner. I’ve found the pearl of great price. Jesus granted me the power to lay down everything, and take it up again myself. Well, I laid it all down, and now a crown awaits me. I have only one goal in this life: to see my Jesus, face to face. All the sufferings of this present time can’t be compared with the joy that awaits me.”

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Our Hope


He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
Matthew 28:7

“Our hope is not in contemplating His wounds but rejoicing in His completed victory. The risen Lord they saw was so glorious in resurrection victory that they never talked about His mutilated body again. When they spoke of sharing His death, they spoke not of a lacerated body, but they spoke of death to their plans and dreams and a total surrender to His will. They turned the world “upside down” because His resurrection became their resurrection. “Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day (after the resurrection) ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you” (John 14:19-20).”

-Joseph Chambers, He Is Risen

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The Path of Surrender



God begins the process of surrender by knocking us off our high horse. This literally happened to Paul. He was going his self-assured way, riding toward Damascus, when a blinding light came from heaven. Paul was knocked to the ground, trembling. Then a voice spoke from heaven, saying, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” (Acts 9:4).

Paul knew something was missing in his life. He had a knowledge of God, but no firsthand revelation. Now on his knees, he heard these words from heaven: “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest” (9:5). The words turned Paul’s world upside down. Scripture says, “Trembling and astonished, [Paul] said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” (9:6). Paul’s conversion was a dramatic work of the Holy Spirit.

Paul was being led by the Holy Spirit into the surrendered life. He asked, “Lord, what would you have me to do?” and his heart was crying out, “Jesus, how can I serve you? How can I know you and please you? Nothing else matters. Everything I’ve done in my flesh is dung. You’re everything to me now.”

Paul had no other ambition, no other driving force in his life, than this: “That I may win Christ” (Philippians 3:8). By today’s standards of success, Paul was a total failure. He didn’t construct any buildings. He didn’t have an organization. And the methods he used were despised by other leaders. In fact, the message Paul preached offended large numbers of his hearers. At times he was even stoned for preaching it. His subject? The cross.

When we stand before God at the judgment, we won’t be judged by our ministries, achievements or number of converts. There will be but one measure of success on that day: Were our hearts fully surrendered to God? Did we lay aside our own will and agenda and take up his? Did we succumb to peer pressure and follow the crowd, or did we seek him alone for direction? Did we run from seminar to seminar looking for purpose in life, or did we find our fulfillment in him?

I have but one ambition and that is to learn more and more to say only those things the Father gives me. Nothing I say or do of myself is worth anything. I want to be able to claim, “I know my Father is with me, because I do only his will.”

David Wilkerson

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Jesus Betrayed by Judas



by Max Lucado

When betrayal comes, what do you do? Get out? Get angry? Get even? You have to deal with it some way. Let’s see how Jesus dealt with it.

Begin by noticing how Jesus saw Judas. “Jesus answered, ‘Friend, do what you came to do.’ ” (Matthew 26:50)

Of all the names I would have chosen for Judas it would not have been “friend.” What Judas did to Jesus was grossly unfair. There is no indication that Jesus ever mistreated Judas. There is no clue that Judas was ever left out or neglected. When, during the Last Supper, Jesus told the disciples that his betrayer sat at the table, they didn’t turn to one another and whisper, “It’s Judas. Jesus told us he would do this.”

They didn’t whisper it because Jesus never said it. He had known it. He had known what Judas would do, but he treated the betrayer as if he were faithful.

It’s even more unfair when you consider the betrayal was Judas’s idea. The religious leaders didn’t seek him, Judas sought them. “What will you pay me for giving Jesus to you?” he asked. (Matthew 26:15) The betrayal would have been more palatable had Judas been propositioned by the leaders, but he wasn’t. He propositioned them.

And Judas’s method … again, why did it have to be a kiss? (Matthew 26: 48–49)

And why did he have to call him “Teacher”? (Matthew 26:49) That’s a title of respect. The incongruity of his words, deeds, and actions—I wouldn’t have called Judas “friend.”

But that is exactly what Jesus called him. Why? Jesus could see something we can’t…

Jesus knew Judas had been seduced by a powerful foe. He was aware of the wiles of Satan’s whispers (he had just heard them himself). He knew how hard it was for Judas to do what was right.

He didn’t justify what Judas did. He didn’t minimize the deed. Nor did he release Judas from his choice. But he did look eye to eye with his betrayer and try to understand.

As long as you hate your enemy, a jail door is closed and a prisoner is taken. But when you try to understand and release your foe from your hatred, then the prisoner is released and that prisoner is you

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A Cry of Victory



by Max Lucado

“It is finished.”

Stop and listen. Can you imagine the cry from the cross? The sky is dark. The other two victims are moaning. The jeering mouths are silent. Perhaps there is thunder. Perhaps there is weeping. Perhaps there is silence. Then Jesus draws in a deep breath, pushes his feet down on that Roman nail, and cries, “It is finished!”

What was finished?

The history-long plan of redeeming man was finished. The message of God to man was finished. The works done by Jesus as a man on earth were finished. The task of selecting and training ambassadors was finished. The job was finished. The song had been sung. The blood had been poured. The sacrifice had been made. The sting of death had been removed. It was over.

A cry of defeat? Hardly. Had his hands not been fastened down I dare say that a triumphant fist would have punched the dark sky. No, this is no cry of despair. It is a cry of completion. A cry of victory. A cry of fulfillment. Yes, even a cry of relief.

It’s over.

An angel sighs. A star wipes away a tear.

“Take me home.”
Yes, take him home.
Take this prince to his king.
Take this son to his father.
Take this pilgrim to his home.
(He deserves a rest.)

“Take me home.”
Come ten thousand angels!
Come and take this wounded troubadour to
the cradle of his Father’s arms!

Farewell manger’s infant.
Bless You holy ambassador.
Go Home death slayer.
Rest well sweet soldier.

The battle is over.

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Sanctification



John 17:17

(17) Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

The extent to which we grasp and believe the truth of the doctrines determines our desire to be holy. By this holiness created within us we become sanctified. The gospel is “the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16). The gospel’s power lies or resides in its words produce in our minds. That is all the gospel is’words: “The words that I speak unto you are Spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63).

Those words lead us to the faith of Christ, and there is nothing mysterious about this. When we believe what Christ believes, we have His faith. It may not be to the same intensity, but we have His faith. Jude told the later first-century church, “Return to the faith once delivered,” because that was the faith of Christ. It came through His apostles, who gave it to the church. The power resides in the words, if we will only use them to live.

Putting those words into practice sanctifies us because they comprise the truth. We become sanctified by applying them. Because we apply them by faith, God will empower us by His Spirit so that the strength to do what He says in the gospel comes from Him. If we just make the choice and begin to do it, He pushes us over the hill. That is what grace is, the gift to overcome.

We all had “our conduct in times past, in the lust of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others” (Ephesians 2:3). If we really believe that God quickened us’that He not only rescued us from death, but gave us the seed of His Kind, the God-kind, and with that, the quality of life that is eternal life, the way that God lives’and if we believe what He is offering us and the instruction for attaining it, the sheer awesomeness of it all, combined with logic, drives us to submit to becoming holy’sanctified.

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The Sufferings of His Broken Heart
by Max Lucado

Go with me for a moment to witness what was perhaps the foggiest night in history. The scene is very simple; you’ll recognize it quickly. A grove of twisted olive trees. Ground cluttered with large rocks. A low stone fence. A dark, dark night.

Now, look into the picture. Look closely through the shadowy foliage. See that person? See that solitary figure? What’s he doing? Flat on the ground. Face stained with dirt and tears. Fists pounding the hard earth. Eyes wide with a stupor of fear. Hair matted with salty sweat. Is that blood on his forehead?

That’s Jesus. Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Maybe you’ve seen the classic portrait of Christ in the garden. Kneeling beside a big rock. Snow-white robe. Hands peacefully folded in prayer. A look of serenity on his face. Halo over his head. A spotlight from heaven illuminating his golden-brown hair.

Now, I’m no artist, but I can tell you one thing. The man who painted that picture didn’t use the gospel of Mark as a pattern. When Mark wrote about that painful night, he used phrases like these: “Horror and dismay came over him.” “My heart is ready to break with grief.” “He went a little forward and threw himself on the ground.”

Does this look like the picture of a saintly Jesus resting in the palm of God? Hardly. Mark used black paint to describe this scene. We see an agonizing, straining, and struggling Jesus. We see a “man of sorrows.” (Isaiah 53:3 NASB) We see a man struggling with fear, wrestling with commitments, and yearning for relief.

We see Jesus in the fog of a broken heart.

The writer of Hebrews would later pen, “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death.” (Hebrews 5:7 NIV)

My, what a portrait! Jesus is in pain. Jesus is on the stage of fear. Jesus is cloaked, not in sainthood, but in humanity.

The next time the fog finds you, you might do well to remember Jesus in the garden. The next time you think that no one understands, reread the fourteenth chapter of Mark. The next time your self-pity convinces you that no one cares, pay a visit to Gethsemane. And the next time you wonder if God really perceives the pain that prevails on this dusty planet, listen to him pleading among the twisted trees.

The next time you are called to suffer, pay attention. It may be the closest you’ll ever get to God. Watch closely. It could very well be that the hand that extends itself to lead you out of the fog is a pierced one.

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Guidance


Dancing With God

When I meditated on the word Guidance,

I kept seeing “dance” at the end of the word.

I remember reading that doing God’s will is a lot like dancing.

When two people try to lead, nothing feels right.

The movement doesn’t flow with the music,

and everything is quite uncomfortable and jerky.

When one person realizes that, and lets the other lead,

both bodies begin to flow with the music.

One gives gentle cues, perhaps with a nudge to the back

or by pressing Lightly in one direction or another.

It’s as if two become one body, moving beautifully.

The dance takes surrender, willingness,

and attentiveness from one person

and gentle guidance and skill from the other.

My eyes drew back to the word Guidance.

When I saw “G”: I thought of God, followed by “u” and “i”.

“God, “u” and “i” dance.”

God, you, and I dance.

As I lowered my head, I became willing to trust

that I would get guidance about my life.

Once again, I became willing to let God lead.

My prayer for you today is that God’s blessings

and mercies are upon you on this day and everyday.

May you abide in God, as God abides in you.

Dance together with God, trusting God to lead

and to guide you through each season of your life.

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