The Highest Name

20170724_202952For this reason God raised him to the highest place above and gave him the name that is greater than any other name. Philippians 2:9 GNB

When I am facing new battles and unknown roads ahead I sometimes forget things. I forget what things I had set out to do this morning. As difficult news struggles to take over page one news in my life it is calming and quietly joyful to remember that there is a name greater than mine. His name is greater than any human friend or enemy. His name is higher than the authority of any diagnoses financial crisis or uncertainty. His is the name calms waves rebukes hurricanes and calls the dead from the grave. It is no joke, no exaggeration, and totally abundantly in control of the universe. What an awesome name! What an awesome God we serve!

Our Great Comforter

Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted Matthew 5:4 NKJV

Frustration, a sense of failure, and helplessness conspired together this morning till tears flowed briefly down my face. Then God reminded me that my walk with Him is always and only by faith. To draw nearer we each must step outside the safety of our own understanding and onto the waters of trusting in Him alone. There comes a peace  knowing that following his footsteps means walking with Him among the billows! There is where I am reminded again that He is the Christ our LifeGreat Comforter!

Prayer in the Name of Jesus

As Peter traveled about the country, he went to visit the Lord’s people who lived in Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas, who was paralyzed and had been bedridden for eight years.  “Aeneas,” Peter said to him, “Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and roll up your mat.” Immediately Aeneas got up. All those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord Acts 9:32-35

Praying in the name J-E-S-U-S is not like using an incantation.  Using Jesus’ name is reserved for those who belong to Him and are doing His will. Peter was traveling to visit other Christians when he found Aneas. Truly believing in the name of Jesus means just going forward in the direction God is leading. Believing in Jesus means belonging to him. As in a traditional marriage there is both a change in name and in relationship. He becomes our new life!kimg1625

In the fourteenth chapter of John Jesus says that in His name we will do even greater things than He did. Considering that He walked on water, multiplied bread and raised the dead that seems unlikely and astonishing! What could be greater than the works of Jesus? But in this story because Peter did this single act, an entire city turned to God! Peter was only one disciple. What would happen if an entire church began to do the things that Jesus did? Jesus’ main ministry was to the people of Israel, but through the church God has chosen to draw people from every nation, culture and language

 

When Jesus said that if we asked anything in His name He would do it He meant for us to pray both in His will and in His way. Whenever we are doing things “In the name of Jesus” we must have the same motives and the same heart as He. If God gave us everything we prayed for, what will people remember? Will it be how amazing we were, or how amazing the name of Jesus? Only when the name of Jesus becomes our life will God get all the glory!

Even Unto Death – Audrey Assad

This is a stunningly beautiful new worship song from Audrey Assad. I pray you will also be blessed!

Jesus
The very thought of You
It fills my heart with love
Jesus
You burn like wildfire
And I am overcome

Lover of my soul
Even unto death
With my every breath I will love You
Lover of my soul
Even unto death
With my every breath I will love You

Jesus
You are my only hope
And You, my prize shall be
Jesus
You are my glory now
And in eternity

Lover of my soul
Even unto death
With my every breath I will love You
Yeah, Lover of my soul
Even unto death
With my every breath I will love You

In my darkest hour
In humiliation
I will wait for You
I am not forsaken
Oh, I lose my life
Oh, my breath be taken
I will wait for You
I am not forsaken
One thing I desire
To see You in Your beauty

You are my delight
Yeah, You are my only
You have sacrificed
Oh, Your love is all consuming
You are my delight
Yeah, You are my glory
Oh, You are my glory
Oh, You are my glory
Yeah

Worship- Jealousy and the Cross of Christ

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For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God  Exodus 34:14

Look under a thousand roofs in any city and you may find 1000 gods (or more that people choose to worship. They may call him (or her these days) Allah, Krishna, Buddha, Kali, or any of a host of other names. There is really nothing new in any of this at all. Back in the “Good Old Days” we might imagine that things were different; however the real world that has always been is just a lot more overt than it used to be Where we need to pay careful and close attention is in our own attitudes towards worship and to what God thinks about it. Yes God loves the whole world and sent Jesus to die for all of our sins; but when we worship our God is very insistent even demanding that all our heart belong exclusively to Him.

Begin any discussion about worship today in the church and you will hear words like “anointed, awesome, powerful” and you may listen to conversations about the “presence of God” or the “move of God”. All that may be well and good, however from God’s perspective he is far more interested in what and who we worship than about the specific form or feeling that we attribute to our “worship time.”

In this 21st century of relaxed informal worship a newcomer to the church may come away with the impression that God is not too fussy or opinionated about things. He loves all kinds of people and understands if they are a bit off in what name they call him. Maybe some people just call God by another name or they use images to assist them in thinking about what the invisible God is truly like. They may sense that the God we praise in church is okay with just about anything as long as it is “intimate” and that the worshipers are accepted if they just come with open hearts.

But in fact the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is quite particular about worship. He is far more than picky. God almighty expects that everything we do, everything we say and every thing we imagine be done in the name of Jesus Christ. God is not only jealous but He willing takes on Jealous as His name. He will never accept any worship, no matter how sweet, to be directed to anyone else but Him. He is not just a “Higher Power” He can not be called by any other name. There is no other way to the Father than worship that springs to life in our hearts because of the cross of Jesus Christ.

I love our very formal older people. They never just slide into the pews and begin to talk, but they bow and pray for a moment. A latecomer don’t simply cheerfully join in the singing rather they kneel for a moment and dedicate the moments to God and then join in. As Paul once told the Corinthians about taking communion. “But let a man first examine himself…” 1 Corinthians 11:28. Maybe it would be a great idea for each of us to begin to re-examine our worship and how we talk about it to those living under those thousands of roofs in our city. Oh yes our God is a God of love! But our God of love is a very jealous lover!

Holy, Holy Holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, Holy, Holy! Merciful and Mighty!
God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity!                                      Reginald Heber

Here Comes the Bride

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We went to a sweet wedding recently. The couple had a simple ceremony outdoors in a park. Though the surroundings were beautiful the greatest loveliness lay in the love that the bride and groom offered one another. First, the bride spoke about how her bridegroom had lifted her up and given her wings to fly. He was her lover, her companion and her best friend.

After she had finished her open love letter, the best man came up and handed a small acoustic guitar to the bridegroom. He awkwardly grasped it in his large hands then fell to one knee and sang a song he had written just for her.

Today, just like our that touching moment, Jesus is waiting for His people, at the altar of heaven. He has paid the full price for His bride and he waits anxiously for the music to begin to play and for that time when he will be united with her forever!

The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. John 3:29

He Couldn’t Stay on the Cross

 And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath,  Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.  Pilate was surprised to hear that he should have already died. And summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead.  And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the corpse to Joseph.  And Joseph[k] bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock. And he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.  Mark 15:42-46

After the crown of thorns

and after they beat our Lord

And after He cried “I thirst”

Only a bitter cup was offered

After the long nails were driven

And the thief asked, “remember me”

At the foot of the cross they gambled

While His life was giv’n on the tree

Then soldiers were sent to find out

If their deadly job was done well

They came and they pierced His sweet side

And through the wound His blood was spilled

Then a thunder cloud roared overhead

While they stood looking up at His cross

And Jesus hung quietly still

While His friends thought that all hope was lost

But He couldn’t stay on the cross after darknessJanuary 2012 044_crop

Was the rule they required that day

So Joseph of Arimathea

Came to take Him away

He couldn’t stay on the cross after nightfall

While He waited for Easter’s bright dawn

And the mighty breath of the Spirit

And the angel who rolled back the stone