Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I'd Rather Have Jesus

It's been on my mind to write about this great hymn for some time. I was further prompted as I sang along with the radio last night and really began thinking about what I'd rather have Jesus than...

Jesus tells us that following Him will be costly.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" Matthew 16:24-26

In this country (USA), most of us will not have to worry about outright persecution. We can worship with other believers on Sunday or anytime through the week, we can read the Bible and play Christian music in our homes, and listen to it on the radio! Many of our brothers and sisters in Christ do not have that freedom.

But following Jesus may cost us other things besides our freedom. For some, it costs them relationships with family members or friends. Jesus asks us to lose our life for the sake of finding it. What does this mean for you? It may not mean forsaking literal silver and gold, but it may mean forsaking the life you imagined. I'd rather have Jesus than to have my dreams come true. That is difficult to say, but I can honestly say it.

More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:8-11

Unlike Paul, I cannot say that I have suffered the loss of all things. Most of us can't. But I can agree with Paul that I would rather have Christ than have the things (material or otherwise) I have lost. Look what Paul tells us the ultimate outcome is of that gain: attaining to the resurrection from the dead!

I encourage you to meditate on these words. I pray that you will agree with the writer, that Jesus is all your hungering spirit needs.

I’d Rather Have Jesus
Words by Rhea Miller

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;
I’d rather be His than have riches untold;
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands,
I’d rather be led by His nail pierced hand.

Than to be a king of a vast domain
Or be held in sin’s dread sway,
I’d rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today.

I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause;
I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause;
I’d rather have Jesus than world-wide fame,
I’d rather be true to His holy name.

He’s fairer than lilies of rarest bloom;
He’s sweeter than honey from out of the comb;
He’s all that my hungering spirit needs,
I’d rather have Jesus and let Him lead.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Be Present at our Table, Lord

This beautiful grace, sung to the tune of the Doxology, is one my extended family uses ocassionally when we gather together. It came to mind as I've been thinking about God's provision for me. He has supplied us with more food than we could ever need. He really does "stretch" our meager resources when we are good stewards of what He has given us, and when we faithfully use the funds He has entrusted to us to further His kingdom.

Just as I invite Him to present in every other aspect of my life, I want Him to be present at our table. In our conversation, in the enjoyment of the food He has blessed us with, in using the food to strengthen our bodies for service to His glory.

Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.I Corinthians 10:31

And just as this hymn says, as much as I am thankful for the food I have in abundance, I am even more grateful for Jesus' blood.

But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. Ephesians 2:13

Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood-- and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father--to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. Revelation 1:4-6

I ask, along with this hymn writer, that just as God gives us each day our daily bread, that He would let manna to my soul be given, the Bread of Life sent down from heaven.

"For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world." John 6:33

Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst." John 6:35

"I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh." John 6:51

Dear Lord, thank you for my abundant table. Do come and be among us, in everything we do, and thank you for Your Son who shed His blood for us. Keep us in Your word, that we may draw life from it, receiving food for our souls from the bread of heaven. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

Be Present at our Table, Lord
Words by John Cennick

Be present at our table, Lord;
Be here and everywhere adored;
Thy creatures bless, and grant that we
May feast in paradise with Thee.

We thank Thee, Lord, for this our food,
For life and health and every good;
By Thine own hand may we be fed;
Give us each day our daily bread.

We thank Thee, Lord, for this our good,
But more because of Jesus’ blood;
Let manna to our souls be giv’n,
The Bread of Life sent down from Heav’n.