Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Jesus Loves Me

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-18

I've been singing this song lately with my 2 year old nephew. It does my heart good to hear him sing these words, and I especially love the stress he places on Yes. It's like he's brimming with confirmation and confidence as he sings, "YEEESSSSS! Jesus loves me!"

This was written as a children's song, but the words are really quite profound. I encourage you to really stop and think about these words the next time you sing this song.

Jesus loves me. He loves me so much that He gave up His own life.

...walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.
Ephesians 5:2

He obeyed His Father, and humbled Himself, even to the point of death on a cross, so that our sins would be covered and our future would be secure.

Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:8

...to Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood... Revelation 1:5

And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. I John 5:11

What is our response to this love? To live for Him.

For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. II Corinthians 5:14-15

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. Galatians 2:20

Jesus Loves Me
Words by Anna Warner and David McGuire

Jesus loves me! This I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong;
They are weak, but He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

Jesus loves me! This I know,
As He loved so long ago,
Taking children on His knee,
Saying, “Let them come to Me.”

Jesus loves me still today,
Walking with me on my way,
Wanting as a friend to give
Light and love to all who live.

Jesus loves me! He who died
Heaven’s gate to open wide;
He will wash away my sin,
Let His little child come in.

Jesus loves me! He will stay
Close beside me all the way;
Thou hast bled and died for me,
I will henceforth live for Thee.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Yes, God is Good

For the LORD is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting, and His faithfulness to all generations. Psalm 100:5

Creation sings the goodness of God! I've said it before, but it bears repeating. I notice it in every season, but this summer has me thinking about it more than usual. Even as I was sitting in a meeting this morning, looking out the window at all the beautiful plants and flowers raising their heads to the sun, I couldn't help but think "Creation just seems to shout 'to God be the glory!'"

O taste and see that the LORD is good... Psalm 34:8

When I think about the science behind what we take for granted every day, that the sun will keep its trackless way - it doesn't fall or even move! - that rain pours on the earth, that the stars shine in the night to light up the sky - it is amazing!

Think of what it takes for rain to fall: water has to evaporate from some large source (like an ocean or a big lake), move across the sky, condense into water, and then be released to fall to the earth again. And it can't condense into one gigantic drop or that would annihilate or at the very least flood the population - it condenses into lots of tiny little drops that provide nourishment to the plants and the food that we eat! My explanation is not scientific in the least but I hope you can see my point - God working in creation shows us His goodness. Rain itself is a miraculous event. Balmy air and falling rain are pictures of God's goodness to us.

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. Romans 1:20

This hymn was written for children, so the truths are relatively simple, but also profound when you think about them more carefully. The rushing breeze, the hills that have forever stood, the roaring seas, they all say "God is good."

What I love about this hymn is it acknowledges that creation sings God's praises and goodness, but then it exhorts US to sing His praises even louder!

Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; Sing praises to His name, for it is lovely. Psalm 135:3

Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant and praise is becoming. Psalm 147:1

I encourage you to take special note today of how creation is singing God's praise, and then join in the song yourself, acknowledging God's goodness and thanking Him for it.

Yes, God is Good
Words by John H. Gurney

Yes, God is good; in earth and sky,
From ocean depths and spreading wood,
Ten thousand voices seem to cry,
“God made us all, and God is good.”

The sun that keeps his trackless way
And downward pours his golden flood,
Night’s sparkling hosts, all seem to say,
In accents clear, that God is good.

The merry birds prolong the strain,
Their song with every spring renewed;
And balmy air, and falling rain,
Each softly whispers, “God is good.”

I hear it in the rushing breeze;
The hills that have for ages stood,
The echoing sky and roaring seas,
All swell the chorus, God is good.

Yes, God is good, all nature says,
By God’s own hand with speech endued;
And man, in louder notes of praise,
Should sing for joy that God is good.

For all Thy gifts we bless Thee, Lord,
But chiefly for our heavenly food;
Thy pardoning grace, Thy quickening word,
These prompt our song, that God is good.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

He Set Me Free

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

I've been thinking a lot about freedom as we approach the holiday this weekend when Americans celebrate being set free from the rule of England. Galatians 5:1 keeps resounding in my head: It was for freedom that Christ set us free. Have you ever thought about this? Freedom.

Because of Christ's atoning work on the cross of Calvary, we are set free from sin. Jesus became a man made of flesh and blood so that He could be slain, ridding the devil of his power over death. Jesus' sacrifice set us free from the slavery of sin.

Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. Hebrews 2:14-15

Sin leads to death and eternal separation from God. But there is life in Jesus Christ!

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. Romans 8:2

When Paul wrote to the Galatians, reminding them that it was for freedom that they were set free, he was exhorting them not to fall back into their usual pattern of trying to live by the Law. We know, by studying the Scriptures, that no person could live up to the requirements of the Law. (I know just by looking at myself!) That's why God sent His son Jesus to redeem us - we could never earn or be "good enough" to merit His favor. Through Jesus, we are freed from death and sin, things that we could never be free from under the Law.

Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses. Acts 13:38-39

Being free from sin has a great reward - our benefit is sanctification (being made holy) and eternal life!

But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. Romans 6:22

Remember that it was for freedom that you were set free! When you celebrate our national holiday this weekend, praise God that you are free from sin because of His great love for you!

He Set Me Free
Words by Haldor Lillenas

My soul is filled with joy and gladness
Since Jesus came to me.
His love has banished all my sadness,
From sin I am set free.

He set me free, He set me free,
I was blind, but hallelujah, now I see!
I shall ne’er forget the day
When He washed my sins away,
And He set, He set me free.

The Comforter divine is dwelling
Within my soul today;
His love to others I am telling
Since Jesus came to stay.

The grace of Jesus hath abounded
For all my sins I see,
Salvation walls have me surrounded,
From sin I am set free.