Sunday, January 8, 2012

Hands That Hold the Stars, Sentenced to Wear My Scars= FREEDOM!

Today I invite you with me to discover perspective. "WHO am I?" "What does it mean that Jesus died for me?" "Why should I care?" Well, turn with me to Isaiah 59:1-15 and let's find out. ...Hold up. Pause. Jesus wants you to put your life on hold to take a few precious moments with him prayerfully pondering the words he has written for us. In these 15 verses... Believe it or not, Jesus is describing none other than you and me. Read this portion of Isaiah envisioning yourself in each situation, allowing him to open up your soul to a lot of what we ignore. Sometimes truth can be hard to embrace. But is it necessary to? Absolutely. I'm praying for you as you read this passage! Go ahead, dive in. See what God has for you. (and don't read ahead yet!!)

--(after you have read Isaiah 59:1-15) Amazing isn't it? How we can so easily slip away and forget the magnitude of our sin and how it seperates us from God? Just a few examples from these verses... Our hands are defiled with innocent blood that we are swift to shed, we rely on empty pleas and lies, our feet run to evil, we live in desolation and destruction that we ourselves have created, we build crooked roads that cause others to stumble and find no peace, we utter lies from the heart, and greatest of all we deny the Lord our Father.

"Therefore justice is far from us, and righteousness does not overtake us; we hope for light, and behold, darkness, and for brightness, but we walk in gloom. We grope for the wall like the blind; we grope like those who have no eyes; we stumble at noon as in the twilight, among those in full vigor we are like dead men." ~Isaiah 59:9-10

Do you understand the implications of these words? We have brought death upon ourselves. We are in desperation; we have no eyes, feeling along the wall like the blind. We are without a sense of direction. Without God being our eyes for us, there is no light. Instead we have chosen darkness and gloom. We have chosen to live as dead men. But... this wasn't our intention, right? We're scared! We don't know how to fight for ourselves and, besides... the penalty is final. Right?

WRONG. Tears were filling heaven's eyes! This wasn't his original plan; it wasn't what he wanted for us! We are his children. How could he sit back and watch us self-destruct? He very well could have. Actually, he SHOULD have. That's exactly what we asked for, and he couldn't go back on his promise. Someone had to pay. Someone HAD to pay. Let's read the rest to find out how our life story ends. Join me again after you read Isaiah 59:15-21.

--Beautiful, isn't it? Just the first phrase. "The Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice" (v. 1). Out of his steadfast, heartfelt love for us he delivered himself in the hands of his very creation that he knew would brutally kill him. Did that stop him from coming? No. That is the very reason why he came. He came boldly for you and me. His strong arm brought us salvation; He wrapped himself in divine light and a passionate cloak of zeal... all for people that he knew would betray him time and time again. And after all that, he still hasn't forgotten or forsaken us! We are of such high value to him that he would sacrifice his life to bring us out of "the pit" (Psalms)! And can I tell you something? Something marvelous and beautiful? HE WOULD DO IT ALL AGAIN IF HE HAD TO. He would do it 769,574,367 more times if that's what it took. That's the magnitude and definition of his unearthly love for us! The power of the cross is immeasurable! Our Redeemer LIVES! Praise God!
He has delivered us from the evil that once lived inside of us. He hung on a tree, his blood was spilt, his flesh was torn. ...How much is too much to give? Well, Jesus stopped at everything. Everything. We will bring him everlasting praise! He is Glory in the Highest! I challenge you to meditate on him today. Think about his selflessness and his grace. Live like you're free! You've been made new! You are delivered! If you ask me... Now THAT is love!

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Lately I have heard a lot of prayer requests for more energy and passion for the Gospel. To those of you who have asked me to pray for you, know that I am and will continue to do so; but for now take this encouragement from one friend to another. Please, take this to heart; this is Jesus speaking to us. He's pleading with us to find life in him! Don't pass it up! You're WAY too precious in Jesus' sight!

In the New Testament, Jesus says this: “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit” (John 15:5-9).

This passage in John tells us that those who have faith, God will find favor in them and answer their prayers. We have to be rooted in him. He is the ONLY root; without him we are not even on level ground. We don't have any foundation at all! In fact, without the foundation of Christ, we will surely "wither up and die". I don't know about you, but that blows me away. Here Jesus isn't talking about physical death; he speaks of something much more valueable. This which he speaks of is the very thing the Devil is fighting to steal from you-- your soul. The Devil wants this so badly that he has taken the consequence of hell to bring as many others down with him in the process as possible. If Jesus has given his life for your soul and Satan is giving his eternal destiny for it, what does that tell you? You're valueable. You're bought at a price. Don't make the grave mistake that most people and even Christians make.

We were BORN to stand out. We live to love. We are the change; we are the revolutionizers. Do we not see the amazing privilege in that?! We overcome the world with just one touch of his Spirit. He holds the world in the breadth of his hand; he is a BIG God. Jesus didn't live a cowardly life, so why should we?

I dare you. Take a chance. Do something you normally wouldn't. STAND OUT. Be who you are called to be. Pray like you actually have faith that God will see you through. Stand back and be amazed by the power of our God! Find the beauty in Jesus! Live to serve. I DARE YOU.

Are you ready? Jesus is. He's waiting. Take the call.