“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…” (Isaiah 49:15-16 NIV)
Thank You Jesus, for going to the cross where my name was engraved on Your hands, maybe not on the palms–-with crucifixion, the Romans pounded spikes through the base of the hand where it is joined to the wrist. But You suffered and died for my sin there.
That reminds me of the hymn, “Nailed to the Cross,” which I learned as a young person:
They are nailed to the cross; they are nailed to the cross.
Oh how much He was willing to bear!
With what anguish and loss, Jesus went to the cross,
And He carried my sin with Him there.*
Thank You, God, for forgiving all our sins and for never forgetting us.
“…He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.” (Colossians 2:13-14) “……God has said,’Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” (Hebrews 13:5) (Both NIV)
*Hymn author: Carrie Ellis Breck (1899) Music and lyrics at:
When our boat overturned, the river started to pull me downstream. Then one of the men reached to pull me out of the rushing water. I felt his strong arms lifting me up.
Jesus, when the world pulls at me and I feel as though I’ve lost my footing, please rescue me! Lift me up with Your strong promises which reach out with arms of faithfulness.
My church children’s group used to sing, “Safe am I in the hollow of His hand. Sheltered o’er in His love forever more. No ill can harm me. No foe alarm me, for He keeps both day and night.”* Lord, I will trust You no matter what happens. I can find rest in You. (See Psalm 62:1)
Psalm 145:13-14 “…The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made. The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.” (NIV)
“For they hated knowledge and chose not to fear the Lord. They rejected my [Wisdom’s] advice and paid no attention when I corrected them. Therefore, they must eat the bitter fruit ofliving their ownway….” (Proverbs 1:29-31, NLT)
The bitter fruit of living my own way– Hmm, not my idea of a great lunch. So I need to choose to fear the Lord today and listen to wisdom’s advice and correction. But how? What does that look like in practical living?
Maybe to receive this day from God’s hand and trust in God’s love for me and in His power to accomplish His purposes.
Or to let go of trying to control or struggling to prove I’m right.
Or perhaps to go God’s way as He teaches me in His Word, biblical teaching, and counsel, instead of leaning on my own understanding. (See Proverbs 3:5)
Proverbs 1:33 gives blessed assurance to those who listen to Wisdom: “But all who listen to me [Wisdom] will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm.” (NLT)
“The Lord your God himself will cross over ahead of you….” (Deuteronomy 31:3 NIV)
Lord God, I struggle to obey your command to be strong and courageous. Yet, You have promised that wherever I go, You go before me. You “cross over” ahead of me, whatever Jordan I cross over. You prepare the way.
You have told us not to be afraid or terrified because You, the Lord our God, go with us. You will never fail us in any way or for any reason. Holy Spirit, when I’m tempted to fear, please prompt me to remember these truths. I can choose strength and courage because You fill me with Your power, love, and a sound mind. Thank You, Lord.
Let me forget my failures from the past, though they are many; but let me remember Your love, Lord, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen.
Lord God Almighty, the invisible God, You have made Yourself visible in Jesus Christ Your Son. Hallelujah!
Jesus, Son of God, You existed before anything was created since You are the Word who was with God and was God. Nothing was created except through You. I lift praises to You!
Jesus, You hold everything together and sustain everything by Your powerful Word. You are before all things—Number 1 first, before time, before creation. I praise You, Lord!
All the fullness of God dwells in You, Jesus. When I see You, I see the Father. Holy Spirit, please help me see Jesus better.
All thanks and praise to You God! I used to be alienated from You, but now You have reconciled me to Yourself through Christ’s death on the cross. So I am holy in Your sight without blemish and free from accusation because I am in Christ Jesus.
Praise You, God–Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit!
(See Colossians 1:15-23, John 1:1-3, Hebrews 1:3 and Romans 8:1.)
“The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.” (Psalm 9:9-10) “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1) (Both Scriptures NKJV)
Lord, I read about people who are persecuted for their faith and praise You for being a refuge for them—the oppressed. Then I hear a testimony of how You strengthened a mom with a part-time job and 8 children at home. Yes, You are the Lord our Strength! Yet sometimes I wonder about my own unimpressive life with its few troubles—I need You too. I can’t manage life on my own.
I believe You talk to pastors and other Christian leaders, giving them wisdom and guidance. Still I feel unsure that I can hear Your voice when I just feel stupid and embarrassed and wonder what to do next.
So I will remember that You came, Jesus, giving up Your throne in glory and the honor You had in heaven from before the foundation of the world. You suffered and died, and (Hallelujah!), You rose again. You did all this so I could become a child of God and have a wonderful life with You, now and forever. Such amazing love! You care for me with overwhelming, everlasting, personal love. And Your Word says in Romans 8:32 (NLT), “Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?” “Everything” must include large and small, important or not.
Therefore, I can believe You are also MY refuge and strength.
Lord, our God, I seek You today as my refuge and choose to put my trust in You, even in what seems unimportant. I love you, Lord. Thank You, Jesus, for caring for me.
“I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me….””
“For the revelation awaits an appointed time…. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.” (Habakkuk. 2:1,3 NIV)
As I wait on You, Lord, my strength is renewed. [Isaiah 40:31 “Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.” (NASB)]
My hope is in You, Lord. I will wait for You. At the appointed time, You accomplish Your purposes—as You did with the coming of Jesus and His life, death, and resurrection.
I choose Jesus. And trust Him, And remember His love and patience and kindness. I remember the cross. I reach for and grab onto hope. I hope in Jesus. Yes, my hope is in Him.
When I’m tempted to focus on frustrations, disappointments, and loss, let me choose to get my eyes back on You, Jesus. May I gaze upon Your goodness and take in Your glory. I need to keep looking to You, the Author and Finisher of my faith (Hebrews 12:2). Amen.
I volunteer a few hours a week at a food pantry/clothes closet for low income people in our county. One day God pointed out some unloving attitudes I had toward the people I served there and even toward some co-workers. So I wrote this prayer:
“Dear Lord, I see that my attitudes toward these requesting help and those I work with don’t reflect You well. I need more of Your mind toward them. Please help me to listen to Your thoughts and see both volunteers and clients through Your eyes as I’m doing my job there. Please help me distinguish between what I can control and what I can’t. Teach me to humble myself so I don’t get angry or think myself better than anyone.
You’ve been so merciful and patient with me, and You have forgiven me again and again. I want to let your love shine through me to others. Amen.”
“I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.”
We tend to say things like: “Today was OK, but I think tomorrow is going to be really hard.” What we really think of as most important, or most powerful, we but after that ‘but.’ Leah was a saint who had a very difficult life. People considered her ugly. Her husband didn’t love her, and it didn’t seem like that would ever change. But (!) she learned to put God’s love after the but. We too, can find incredible life and grace by learning to put eternal truth after the ‘buts’ in our life.
To listen to the sermon, click the play button: To download, right click on the link (or do whatever you do on a Mac) and save it to your computer: Download Living Crucified Part 4
In a conversation with a respected friend, one remark flew right past the logic center of my brain and poked a hole in my heart. My friend had said one thing and somewhere between my ears and my soul it got twisted so that I heard something entirely different.
I heard blame: “XYZ’s unpleasant behavior is all your fault,” and I heard put-down: “You are a bad person, worthy of rejection.”
Aha! Rejection! There’s a mental stronghold where the enemy twists thoughts, shreds meanings, and shoots out his lies. I see other strongholds in my soul too, but what can I do?
Asking the Holy Spirit to show me the truth might help. He points out a foundation stone of pride—thinking life should work the way I want it to. So I could start with humbling myself before God and remembering that He’s God and I’m not.
I’ve let past rejections and hurt feelings build up instead of dealing with them God’s way. Now fortress walls guard a breeding ground for grief and misunderstanding. They ought to come down as I choose to repent of my bitterness and to quit focusing on myself.
“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5 NIV).