Monday, March 31, 2014

Only One Rock

   It's not rare that we as humans find ourselves in situations where temptations seem to be weighing on our hearts like a ton of bricks. Temptations are tempting, very very tempting. We live in a fallen world, and we are currently bound to mortality and fleshly hindrances. It's normal to feel tempted. In fact, even Jesus was tempted!

   "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin." (Hebrews 4:15)

   Jesus was not just tempted, but He was tempted in every way. Imagine the spiritual strength! How admirable and encouraging! When we're being tempted and feel too weak to withstand the luring lies and lusts of the flesh, we have this Solid Rock to Whom we call. 

Jesus Christ, the Lord of all, You will reign through it all, and it's to You that we call.

   I know that in the heat of the moment, it is hard to say no. It's not an easy task to deny self and pick up that cross.

   "Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me." (Matthew 16:24)

Remember that our God is a Solid Rock and powerful Refuge to His children:

   "The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold." (Psalm 18:2)

Mighty Deliverer, we can call to You. In those pressing times of desperation, one cry to You Father, and You're faithful to come and deliver us. You alone are the Saviour of our souls, and not one of our needs goes unnoticed by You, loving Lord.

"I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies." (Psalm 18:3)

   Worthy is the Lord, for He is the Mighty Rock who rescues His followers. We serve a powerful God! When we establish our trust by proclaiming His goodness and faithfulness, we are preserved from destruction. No enemy can shake the foundation that is in Christ the Solid Rock!

   "There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God." (1 Samuel 2:2)

   "For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure." (2 Samuel 22:32-33)

   Laugh at the lies and triumph over the temptations, because it is God who arms us! The Lord protects our spirits and He keeps secure our paths. Because we are in Him, no demon can detract or deter us away from God's perfect course for our lives!

   "Though I am surrounded by troubles, you will protect me from the anger of my enemies. You reach out your hand, and the power of your right hand saves me. The lord will work out his plans for my life— for your faithful love, O lord, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me." (Psalms 138:7-8)

   Remember His way is good and pure and right and glorious. His ways are undeniably miraculous and marvellous are all His works, for the Lord is mighty and full of awe.

   "for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose." (Philippians 2:13)

   "I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for." (Jeremiah 29:11)

   Our tomorrows are held in His caring hands. He will not abandon us - the Rock of our Salvation will not leave our side. 

   Though it's dark wherever you are right now - the debt, the illness, the hospital ward, the struggling relationship - God has not left. The Light of His Presence will shine through that darkness, and it will bring forth the future of hope He has promised for you.

   Take hold of His mighty Hands. Dig in your heels and make up your mind to not be moved by the swaying temptations. Declare the faithfulness and righteousness of the Rock of our Salvation that is Christ the Lord over all! He alone is the Rock and besides Him there is no other!

   - The Introverted Evangelist

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Jesus Reigns and Remains

   Do you ever get caught up in worldly concerns? Have you ever dreaded having to work through a difficult job or tedious task? Does your flesh ever get the best of you? We all know the answers to these personal questions. We'd all admit that it's not always an easy life to live out, and sometimes the storm clouds roll in on our paradise. Rough roads, bumpy paths, and heart aches can take you on a trip of pity and distraught.

   Don't let the worldliness of the world get your heart bummed out. Take a minute to reflect on all the wonderful good that God has provided. Remember the promises of the Word.

   "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

   "Take Heart!" Jesus exhorts us, "I have overcome the world." There it is settled for us, fragile sheep. The world brings trouble, but our Lord has conquered this world and all the godlessness in it. Remember, death could not keep it's hold on Him. Not even a sealed stone grave could contain His power.

   I know first hand how times can go seemingly swell, but then all of a sudden come tumbling down faster than an avalanche. And with the boulders bustling down comes a busted and burdensome heart. 

   Everything comes down hard on top of your poor fragile spirit, and you don't even understand how or why you fell so fast. Hope has drifted from your grasp - as far as your fear-filtered eyes can see. The people with whom you were once in fellowship have walked out, and you're all alone? You presume so. Everything has gone wrong, and your whole life has been ruined? Not in the least. As you've hopefully come to realise by now, God works all things for His purpose - His great and perfect will.

   "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)

   And you cry, "In all things? How can that be? How can this horrid pit I'm in turn out to be good?" I understand your argument. Believe me, I was there. In all the sorrowful, tear streaming glory, there will be glory. His glory, that is, the glory of the Lord who works in mighty ways we cannot comprehend.

   "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?" (Romans 8:35)

   This is when the light begins to peak through the dismal, dark clouds of destruction. We ask those exact words in Romans 8:35. We question if there's anyone left who could possibly love us. And then, in the most loving, touching, heart mending whisper, Jesus assures us, "I'm here, child. I was the first to love you, and I'll love you for eternity. I will be with you for all your days. Nothing that happens in this life could ever alter the sacred promise of My Love for you."

"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." (Romans 8:37)

   We are more than conquerors, because it is Him who loved us. He loved us before we fell to this low point, He loves us even in the thick of this raging storm, and His love will carry us out of the sorrow and into the glorious realm of the Light of His Presence. Have your eyes focused in on the hope yet?

   "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead," (1 Peter 1:3)

   Here is the climax of the story. Because of this truth, our heart's flame is never burnt out. Jesus Christ is the hope! He is the living hope we have bound to our hearts, and nothing can undo what Jesus secured for victory

   Victory! He is the hope for all mankind, and because of the redeeming work He accomplished on the Cross, we have a living hope that shall forever anchor our souls.

   "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain" (Hebrews 6:19)

   "The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; The God of my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, My stronghold and my refuge; My Savior, You save me from violence." (2 Samuel 22:2-3)

   Grip the strong and mighty hands of our God, and remain faithful. He is holding you in your pain, and He hears your prayers to Him. Pray for the peace to make it through this battle. He is fighting for you, and His peace will come upon you. Just remain calm. Sorrow may endure for the night, but the joy of the Lord is coming.

Our battle cry through it all:

"Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me." (Psalms 51:12)

The Light awaiting at the end of this tunnel:

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away" (Revelation 21:4)

   Hold on tightly to the hope that is certain and secure in Christ alone. His glory and might will surely be seen. The only One who can pull you out of the depths and renew unto you a brand new purpose, meaning, and joy is our Lord Jesus Christ. The Saviour of all is the same One who wants to grace you with His peace, love, and mercy. 

Embrace His grace! Hold onto the hope! Jesus remains, Jesus reigns!

   -The Introverted Evangelist

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Abundant Life is Knocking

   "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one." (John 10:28-30)

   Life. What does life look like in your mind? Life to me is the joy of the Lord. It's not partying late nights, having a bunch of wealthy friends, or going on conspicuous holidays to snooty locations. Sure those things can be enjoyable at times, but must it always be that way in order for you to feel alive? If this is the case, we may have just found an hidden root of trouble.

   You see in Philippians chapter four, the Apostle Paul is sharing his revelation concerning contentment in any and all circumstances.

   "I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:11-13)

   God gives strength to His people who look to Him. If we would look to Him in times of loneliness, financial need, and spiritual hunger, He will supply the strength we need.

He will be the needed Presence of a Comforter in the midst of your distress:

"My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life." (Psalm 119:50)

"Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones." (Isaiah 49:13)

He will provide all that we need, for His provision is perfect:

"Your people settled in it, and from your bounty, God, you provided for the poor." (Psalm 68:10)

And if it's your spirit in which you are poor, take heart, there's hope:

"The poor will see and be glad— you who seek God, may your hearts live!" (Psalm 69:32)

That's the life!

   God provides. He provides that shoulder to cry on that no one else would offer. He provides in even the smallest of needs, because even the sparrows are cared for by our loving Lord. He provides the food for which your spirit hungers, and the Wellspring of Living Waters to the parched lands within your heart.

   "He turned the desert into pools of water and the parched ground into flowing springs; there he brought the hungry to live, and they founded a city where they could settle." (Psalm 107:35-36)

   So come to Him, grumbling soul-belly and all. Expect Him to fill you up. He is good and when you seek after Him whole-heartedly, you will be satisfied. You will discover the life you're searching for in the Lord.

"Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart." (Psalm 37:4)

   "and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding." (Proverbs 2:4-6)

   This is what true living looks like. It's searching for God with your entire heart. Searching for Him in everyday things, seeking Him and desperately wanting to know more and more and more about Him. It's the crave to know His Heart and the desire to give to Him that of your own - your all for more of Him. 

   It's a beautiful exchange to experience. Each day the flesh chips away, and the Spirit blossoms within. Cherish this time of spiritual advancement. You are going from glory to glory in God's grace. Trust Him. He is faithful. He sees your longing and delights in your hungering for Him.

   "Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you." (Psalm 9:10)

   Seeking Christ is lovely living, and living life lovely is loving the Lord. He will never abandon His faithful children - never. The best part? We won't ever experience being snatched away from the Life that is found only in God. Jesus suffered that agony once and for all and He defeated it, and therefore it no longer has authority over us as we are protected by the Good Shepherd. As you read earlier, John chapter ten tells us this loudly and clearly! What a divine revelation!

   Because we have eternal life, we will never perish. What the Holy Spirit presses on our hearts is that we throw off the chains of earthly pleasure that ultimately leave us feeling emptier, and thrust ourselves into the Arms of the One who calls us daily.

   He is calling. Can't you hear the gentle whispers of the Savior? "Come, My child, follow me."

   "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know." (Jeremiah 33:3)

   Great and unsearchable things await your future! The Life that Christ is beckoning for you to embrace is overflowing with joy, peace, and abundance. Take the leap into His Arms, and He won't ever let you fall. 

   Open the door to Him, and allow Him to feed your soul. Partake in the nourishing Words, delve into the incomprehensible grace that is yours for the accepting, and quench the desert-like thirst in your heart with the Well of Life that pours His healing waters out. This is Life!

   "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me." (Revelation 3:20)

   Love, joy, peace, and abundant Life await, knocking on the door to your heart. Will you let Him in? Will you let the lovely and loving living begin? Your life will be forever brighter if you do, because that's when you are bathed in the Light of His Presence.

   - The Introverted Evangelist

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Death is Defeated

   "For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh," (Romans 8:3)

   Jesus came down to this earth as human. In fact, He took on the role of a servant so that our bondages might be removed from us. He set aside His divinity, in order for us to have fellowship with our Creator and Heavenly Father.

"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)

   He gave up the seat at the Right Hand of God, all for the redemption of the people who rejected Him. Jesus died - willingly - for those who hated Him, spat on Him, and accused Him. Jesus died so that we might be saved from death.

   "The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven." (Hebrews 1:3)

   The Word became flesh just like we are flesh, but with one exception: Jesus never once sinned. Yet, Jesus bore the crushing and agonising punishment that the law required of sin. He did this for each and every one of us. He endured the worst, all for the purification of our sins.

   Of course we didn't deserve this marvelous act of love. Don't think for a moment we could've earned this gift. That is why we call it the gift of grace! Grace! Grace of God! This is our redemption song! The grace of God came to us in all of our filthy human lusts and fleshly impulses, and He chose to forgive us. The Lord Jesus Christ said on our behalf, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." (Luke 23:34)

   Yes, we were so lost in our transgressions. We struggle still, and our only hope is found in that grace of God. The grace that covers us in righteousness, fills us with thanksgiving, and casts away the burdens of our sinful nature. Yes, the victory at the Cross is still alive to this day, and the potency never fades or decreases. Our Lord is almighty!

   Jesus didn't dismiss the law. Jesus fulfilled the law. He fulfilled it by condemning sin in the flesh. Just as it is written in Romans chapter eight. In other words, Jesus - fully man and fully Divine Lord - took the load of our unrighteousness, though not a single deed of lawlessness did He commit, and He endured the shameful, painful separation of death. 

   In the Greek, the definition for the word "death" or "θάνατος" literally means death. However, this same word is used in the New Testament to depict spiritual death - that is the eternal separation from God. The eternity destined for those who deliberately choose to reject Salvation - that is what "θάνατος" is.

   Jesus removed the horror associated with death. Death is not something we need to fear, because the moment our eyes close here on earth, they open to see the divine radiance of the Lord of all. In another sense, we never will actually "die", because our souls will forever be alive and thriving in Christ Jesus.

   Hallelujah! Death is defeated, because the Spotless Lamb of God condemned sin, fulfilled the law, and conquered the grave! Now that is truly a reason to have hope and joy anchored forever in our souls!

   -The Introverted Evangelist

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Jesus Paid it All - Once and For All

   "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)

   Everything we work for in strife to be "good enough" is an effort that has wasted our energy. Energy we could be using to worship God and offer thanks to Him. We need not tirelessly toil, for Jesus wore the filth of our humanity. Jesus buried the bitter shame and deeds of darkness, and He resurrected with victory and healing in His wings! Let His pure healing heal your feelings of unworthiness. Let His victory triumph over your supposed need to work for acceptance. God's already accepted you as you are, because Jesus - the Spotless Lamb of God - already paid our redemption fee. He snatched us out of the enemy's slave market, and swept us away from danger. Praise the Son of God! He has set us free!

"But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture." (Malachi 4:2)

"I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture." (John 10:9)

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

   - The Introverted Evangelist

Saturday, March 8, 2014

He is What I Always Need

   Father, I come to You today with the utmost of gratitude. I'm overwhelmed by Your perfect patience, provision, and peace. Your grace has not left my side not even once. When I was at my lowest point - all else had failed and I truly believed for the ending to be upon me - You Lord came and You renewed my hope, You restored my life. 

   What can I give to You in return Father? What offering can I supply to show my thanks? To give to you a thousand times a thousand bars of precious gold could not even begin to express my gratitude.

   The moments I spend resting in Your peaceful and powerful Presence are more valued than all the riches in the world. Your glory envelopes me, and the warmth of Your light shines upon my face.

"The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you;" (Numbers 6:25)

   Gracious, gracious indeed. God, You have shown me such grace, for there is no one as gracious as You. Without You I'm starved. Without You I am lost. Without You my breath is short, and my life is hurt.

You are the nourishment for my soul:

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ” (Matthew 4:4)

You guide me and make my ways straight and safe:

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psalms 119:105)

Suddenly, God, your light floods my path, God drives out the darkness. I smash the bands of marauders, I vault the high fences. What a God! His road stretches straight and smooth. Every God -direction is road-tested. Everyone who runs toward him Makes it. (2 Samuel 22:29-31)

You are the Breath of Life, and I will breathe You in and praise You all the days of my life:

This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again! (Ezekiel 37:5)

You are my strength, I sing praise to you; you, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely. (Psalm 59:17)

   I will rely on the Lord of lords and King over all principalities. I will place my fears in His holy, scarred hands - in the arms of my Saviour I will find my constant comfort. 

He has walked the path I take, for He paved the way I am on. He is my guide, the Rock I stand upon. Hope remains within my heart, and I know from me He'll never depart. Take courage my dear soul, and hold onto what is true, for the Lord your God is holding onto you.

   - The Introverted Evangelist

Monday, March 3, 2014

Renewing Rest in My Saviour

   Inside of me I can feel a blazing fire. It burns and rages more and more vigorously each and every day. I'm ready to be fully consumed by this glorious fire of God. "For our God is a consuming fire." (Hebrews 12:29)

   I may not always know what to say or write or even think sometimes, but I do know that God is my forever refuge. Because I am in Him, I am always secured and in the right place. When God looks at me, He sees His child. I am clothed with righteousness, because of Jesus Christ.

   "I delight greatly in the Lordmy soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels." (Isaiah 61:10)

Oh Lord, You are my joy and song,
I will hide under Your wings all the day long.
Won't You keep me in Your perfect peace tonight,
Oh Lord, You are my heart's delight.

   So I'll give in to Your invitation towards You arms, Father, and find my renewal in Your love. I'll deny the calls of the demanding and chaotic world, so I can press my ear upon Your chest and listen to You calmly lull me to rest.

   -The Introverted Evangelist

Saturday, March 1, 2014

His Glorious Goodness

   It's becoming more and more apparent that God's will is truly spectacular. In between the doubts and fears you'd think I was a lost hope, but that's not what God sees. God sees that which He predetermined.

   "Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified." (Romans 8:30)

   Amazing grace, love, and redemption. It is not our mistakes that define us, but our Savior Jesus. God's grace saved us, His perfect love embraces us, and the redemption of the Cross is our hope for all eternity.

   It is nothing we could've done for our own selves. This is made crystal clear in the Bible: it is by grace we have been saved. Alone we are helpless and prone to destructive and sinful tendencies, but when we accept our adoption into Christ everything changes. 

   We have been adopted into royalty and cleansed by the blood of the Perfect Lamb of God. In Him we find acceptance, for Christ died for all - He came to save the sinners.

   Family is where you're safe, and truly, truly there is no safer place than in the arms of Christ our Lord. He protects, guides, and fights for us. We are fully His.

   His mercy flows abundantly, His goodness never ends, and His wondrous works are all around us. We are His masterpieces, and our life stories testify to that as well. He purposes us for the good of His Kingdom. When great things happen, it's for His glory and honour.

   Savior Jesus, we place in Your hands our all. Though we are weak and very small, we trust in You that we won't fall. Savior Jesus, to You we'll call.

   "This was the Lord ’s doing; It is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it." (Psalms 118:23-24)

   This, this joy, this wonder, this is the Lord's doing. This is how our hearts sing songs of thanks. We just give our thanks and rejoice. Trust, watch Him work in your life, and joyfully thank Him. Our God is good!

   -The Introverted Evangelist