Coming back from the mall yesterday I had to stop at the light. There in the middle of the busy entrance was blooming this beautiful rose. She was not at all concerned about keeping up with the traffic. There were no indications that she longed to be planted elsewhere. She wasn’t picky about who stopped by to see her. She was God’s little lesson for a man always hurrying but never feeling like he had arrived. She was simply at peace and showed it through every sweet blossom.
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth give I unto you. Do not let your heart be troubled neither let it be afraid. John 14:27
Last night we went to the premiere in Scranton of the Hillsongs movie, “Hope Rising”. Though it was supposed to be a women’s group night out I tagged along with my wife because I love many of the worship songs from Hillsongs United. It was great film, but really hard to describe. It was like being at a christian concert but it was more a concert. The presentations of Oceans as well as Mighty to Save were awesome! It was a bit of a promotional video for Hillsongs church but it rose far above that. The film shared some very intimate moments and details from the lives of the singing group Hillsong United as well as from pastors Brian and Bobbie Houston. I think they have in some ways defined a new type of christian film. It was powerful and practical and overall a real blessing to my wife and I. Here is the trailer to give you a sneak preview for yourself. Be blessed
For me to live is Christ and to die is gain Philippians 1:21
Am I completely satisfied with Christ alone? When we are young we need to please someone. There is always one person’s opinion of our life that we value most. For some of us that is our Mom or Dad. Some idolize an older brother or a friend. But as a Christian really only God’s opinion matters. He is our true life but has that been our reality today?
Am I willing to surrender anything He asks? Once I was singing “I surrender all” during my nursing home ministry. At the end of the song one lady asked me, “what have you surrendered?” Her question cut right to my heart. What is Christ asking for me to give 100 percent to Him right now?
Am I ready to go anywhere He asks? Many times we pray for God to open a door. But what we truly have in mind is something that we have wanted on the other side. But if God opens a door and doesn’t tell us much about where it leads are we willing to push it wide open? Will we eagerly press forward just because we trust He knows best?
One terrible evening our Lord Jesus faced exactly these same three decisions. Did the Father’s opinion matter more than his own? Was he willing to surrender all he had? Would he go anywhere God asked? The open door before our Lord was a stone door ready to be rolled shut once he had entered. Christ prayed till sweat fell like drops of blood then he decided that for him to truly live was to do the Father’s will and for him to die was truly gain!
Our hymn for Sunday morning this week is the classic, “The Old Rugged Cross” This powerful song was written by George Bennard and first performed by him with guitar accompaniment in 1913. “The Old Rugged Cross” has been a part of communion services, revivals and altar calls for over a hundred years.What a blessing to sing along the simple yet profound lyrics!
On a hill far away, stood an old rugged Cross
The emblem of suffering and shame
And I love that old Cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain
So I’ll cherish the old rugged Cross
Till my trophies at last I lay down
I will cling to the old rugged Cross
And exchange it some day for a crown
Oh, that old rugged Cross so despised by the world
Has a wondrous attraction for me
For the dear Lamb of God, left his Glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary
In the old rugged Cross, stained with blood so divine
A wondrous beauty I see
For the dear Lamb of God, left his Glory above
To pardon and sanctify me
But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary they shall walk and not faint Isaiah 40:31
When God renews our strength He first gives us wings. Wings like eagles can soar far above our weakness and rest on the breathe of the wind. Even eagles do come to rest, and when we find our feet back on the ground God often fires off the starting gun for our race.
As a teen I ran on our track team. Thanks to a patient coach he allowed even slower runners like me to stay on the team if we came for the practices and finished our races. Though I never knew what it was to win a race, I learned a lot about running through the finish line.
I remember that on the first days of practice some of us would stumble near the end of the second mile, but we each found a way to make it to the end. That is when the temptation was overwhelming to throw ourselves down on the ground in exhaustion. But that seemingly well deserved rest was never allowed by our coach. He would be right there pressing us on saying. “Don’t stop yet guys! Walk it off! Walk it off!”
Tonight if you have run your heart out and feel that you have crossed some finish line, remember Isaiah’s message. You will not only ride with eagle’s wings and run without growing weary, but you will also walk and not faint. If weariness calls tonight to simply cast yourself down to the ground and say that you are through, hear the voice of Jesus my friend, “Don’t stop yet! Walk it off! Walk it off! There is still so much more more to come!”
He calls us in that moment to come up by His side to look out through heaven’s window and to see His horizon that stretches far beyond our own finish line!