Posted by: John | August 5, 2012

Mission Statement: To Point Others to JESUS

Brothers & Sisters,

I pray that this finds you filled to overflowing with His peace & joy.  I am excited to share my new mission statement that John Maisel, my dear friend & mentor,  shared with me.  Today I will be sharing this mission statement with you & then I will follow that up with 7 mission mandates. 

“Then JESUS told them a parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them.  Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country & go after the lost sheep until he finds it.  And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home.  Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’  I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do need to repent” (Luke 15:3-7).

JESUS said, “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one.  Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house & search carefully until she finds it?  And when she finds it, she calls her friends & neighbors together & says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’  In the same way, I tell you , there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:8-10). 

JESUS said, “So he got up & went to his father.  But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him & kissed him.  The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.  I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’  But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick!  Bring the best robe & put it on him.  Put a ring on his finger & sandals on his feet.  Bring the fattened calf & kill it.  Let’s have a feast & celebrate.  For this son of mine was dead & is alive again; he was lost & is found.’  So they began to celebrate” (Luke 15:20-24).

“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness’” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

 My mission statement is: “I exist to point other people to JESUS CHRIST.”

a) To Unbelievers, I point them to the Cross of CHRIST for salvation. 

b) To believers, I point them to the sufficiency of CHRIST.

JESUS shares 3 parables in a row in Luke 15, the Parable of the Lost Sheep, the Parable of the Lost Coin & the Prodigal Son Story to express He & the Father’s tremendous heart for the lost.  JESUS stated his mission as our Savior in Luke 19:10: “For the Son of Man came to seek & save what was lost.”  Each of us who know His precious salvation was once a lost sheep that the Lord pursued in His Sovereign Grace & carried back on His Shoulders!  Now the Lord wants us to go out with His Heart & Perspective in reaching out to share the Good News of JESUS with our family members, neighbors, co-workers, friends, & others in our sphere of influence.

Paul writes, “I am obligated (indebted) both to Greeks & non-Greeks, both to the wise & the foolish” (Romans 1:14).  Oswald Chambers writes, “Paul was overwhelmed with a sense of indebtedness to JESUS, & He spent his life to express it” by sharing JESUS with the lost souls around him.  Do you & I feel the same sense of indebtedness to share JESUS with those around us?  

In the same way, the Lord wants us to build up & encourage our fellow believers by pointing them to JESUS as the Author & Perfecter of our faith.  What an awesome & humbling privilege it is to play a role within the Lord’s plan in lifting up JESUS & pointing people to Him through our life’s actions & words! 

Dear Heavenly Father,     

We are in awe of You!  We praise You for Your Majesty & Holiness!  We’re so grateful for Your Amazing Grace & Love.  You spared not Your Own Son to save us from our sins.  Praise You for Your Faithfulness in giving us JESUS—the Way, the Truth & the Life—the One Bridge to reconcile us to You, O Father!  Thank You for making us worthy by JESUS’ Precious Blood.  O Lord, bless us for Your Name’s Sake with Spirit-filled lives that point people around us to JESUS as Way.  Bless us with Your Heart & Passion for the lost.  We ask that You give us a boldness & sensitivity by Your Holy Spirit to share JESUS wtih those who don’t know You & with fellow believers would would benefit from reminding of Your Sufficiency.  Bless us with opportunities to share JESUS by Your Holy Spirit.  It’s in teh Name above all names–JESUS that I pray.  Amen.   

In His Love,

John

JESUS is 1st!   To Him be All Glory!

Advertisements
Posted by: John | April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

Brothers & Sisters,
 
I pray you have a most blessed Easter this weekend with your loved ones!  May our hearts be filled to overflowing with praise & gratitude for our Lord & Savior’s Amazing Love, which surpasses all understanding.
 
Charles Spurgeon writes of JESUS, “When He was enthroned in the highest heavens. . .by Him were the heavens made, and all the hosts thereof.  His Own Almighty Arm upheld the spheres; the praises of cherubim and seraphim perpetually surrounded Him; the full chorus of hallelujahs of the universe flowed to the foot of His Throne.   He reigned supreme above all His creatures, God over all, blessed forever.  Who can tell His height of glory then?  And who, on the other hand, can tell how low he descended?  To be a man was something, to be a man of sorrows was far more; to bleed, and die, and suffer, these were much for Him Who was the Son of God; but to suffer such unparalleled agony – to endure a death of shame and desertion by His Father, this is a depth of condescending love which the most inspired mind must utterly fail to fathom.”

 

“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a Lamb without blemish or defect.  He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.  Through Him you believe in God, Who raised Him from the dead and glorified Him, and so your faith and hope are in God” (1 Peter 1:18-21). 

On Easter, let us reflect on our Lord’s Almighty, Abundant Love poured out to us so richly in JESUS, the Lamb of God.  Think about JESUS’ Everlasting Glory as the Creator God before He became our Emmanuel.  As Spurgeon writes above, from what fathomless heights of glory, JESUS descended to become the Man of sorrows.  JESUS stooped down so low to become our Suffering, Saving Messiah.  Reflecting on His agonizing suffering through the Roman scourge, the crown of thorns, the public mockeries, the countless beatings, and the Calvary’s Cross brings tears and an overflowing indebtedness to Him.  It cost JESUS everything to bring us such a mighty salvation!  It goes beyond my understanding of love–that the King of all Kings would so humbly bear the wrath of God and lay down His Life as the Lamb of God to wash away our sins with His Precious Blood.

And JESUS rose again as the Conqueror of sin & death on the 3rd day!  What Magnificent Love for our Risen Savior to graciously share His Eternal Life & Victory with us who have put our trust in Him for the forgiveness of sins!  All praise & glory be to JESUS—the Way, the Truth & the Life!  How priceless is His Unfailing Love!! 

Dear Heavenly Father,     

O Lord, Your Love reaches up to the heavens, Your Faithfulness to the skies!!  How precious is Your Amazing Love!  Your Love is better than life itself!  We are so unworthy to be your servants.  We are blown away every time we think of how You sent Your One & Only Son, JESUS, to pour out His Precious Blood at Calvary’s Cross to save us from our sins.  O Lord, You deserve our every breath, every heart beat, every spoken word, every thought, every ounce of strength for Your Glory!  We surrender our hearts and lives to You.  O Lord, we ask that You would exalt JESUS in our lives and our families by Your Holy Spirit’s power as we commit our hearts to You.  Exalt JESUS, O Lord, and draw those around us to Him as the only Way, Truth and Life.  Those around us need JESUS just as much as we do, so help them, Father.  Use us to extend Your Son’s Kingdom by the power of the Holy Spirit.  We praise You, Lord, for Your Matchless Grace in JESUS!  Be exalted as we worship You in remembrance of JESUS’ death and resurrection this weekend.  It’s in the Name above every name that we pray–in the Name of our Risen Savior, JESUS, we pray.  Amen.

In His Love,

John 

JESUS is 1st!   To Him be All Glory!

Posted by: John | March 6, 2012

Trust the Instrument Panel

Brothers & Sisters,

I pray this finds you soaking up the Presence, Love, Joy, Peace, & Strength of our Lord & Savior.  Today I wanted to share some great encouragement I received from some pilot friends of mine in the Lord.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not upon your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior” (Psalms 42:5). 

“My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him.  He alone is my Rock and my Salvation; He is my Fortress, I will never be shaken” (Psalms 62:1-2).

“I lift my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven & earth” (Psalms 121:1-2).

“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).  

My pilot friends, who used to fly jets for the Navy, provided some excellent advice the other day.  They said that over the course of their years of flying, they often found themselves flying within storms.  They provided the following advice that applies well for us as Christians as we go through the storms of our lives:

1)    Trust Your Instrument Panel: Flying within the darkness & turbulence of a storm, your senses will very often betray you.  For example, you’ll feel like you’re turning upside down, when in reality, the opposite is true.  The instrument panel tells you as a pilot what reality is.  It shows you the true horizon & what is actually going on with the plane.  During flight training, it is drilled into the pilots’ minds not to trust their feelings, but to trust only in their instrument panel.   

2)     Always Have a Co-Pilot: Even though technically only one pilot is required to fly the plane, it is military policy to always have 2 pilots aboard these jets.  Because of their boldness & extraordinary flying abilities, one of the most common faults of pilots is to rely on themselves & their own senses in a storm instead of their instruments.  This pride can be catastrophic.  The extra pilot continually reminds the pilot who is flying to keep looking at & trusting the instrument panel.  

I am grateful that the Lord has graciously given us “the instrument panel”—His Word & co-pilots—friends in JESUS who keep pointing us to the Lord & His Word.  The Word of God is the Lord’s Love Letter to us, which is based on His Love, Truth & Reality.  In the midst of the storm, our senses very often betray us.  We need to continually remind ourselves & we need our friends to remind us of His Promises & the Reality of His Faithfulness.  

Reflecting on one rollercoaster week in the past, which started with some very positive news & ended with some very negative news.  I remember being “funked out” in terms of my perspective.  I felt like I was upside down.  My feelings were taking me down the wrong path and I struggled to hold onto the Lord & to see Him in the midst of the storm.  That night, I praised God & focused on obeying Him by doing the next right thing.  The next morning as the negative feelings began to hit me like the tide, I realized how much I needed the Lord & His Perspective.  I reached out to the Lord for His Help.  I studied His Word, praised Him for His Grace, & thanked Him for His many blessings.  Then I turned to Habakkuk 3:17-18 & I memorized the 18th verse: “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”  That day as the negative feelings hit, I kept repeating & meditating on that verse.  In my heart, I said, “I will rejoice in the Lord . . . I will live by faith not by sight!”  By God’s Grace, I was choosing to focus on the Lord & His “instrument panel” instead of my own feelings.  The pilot’s analogy has helped me a ton & I hope it helps you too.   

Dear Heavenly Father,

We trust You & Your Heart, O Lord.  Help us to keep our eyes on You within the storms of our lives.  You are our Blessed Reality & Redeemer!  We praise You for Your exceeding Faithfulness, Grace & Provision!  You know us so much better than we know ourselves & You knew we needed an instrument panel.  We praise You, O JESUS, our Living Word!  You are the Way, the Truth & the Life!  Bless each of my brothers & sisters with the co-pilots they need to encourage them to live by faith instead of by sight.  We love You, O Lord!  Thank You for Your Amazing Grace!  It’s in the Name above all Names—JESUS, we pray.  Amen.

In His Love,

John

JESUS is 1st!  To Him be All Glory!

Posted by: John | February 20, 2012

Boldness for JESUS

Hi Brothers & Sisters,I pray the Lord blesses us with great boldness to share Him, His Love & His Truth with those around us in accordance with His Purpose & Glory.

“In accordance with my earnest expectation and hope, that with all boldness, Christ shall even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.  For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:20-21).

After Peter healed a crippled man in the Name of JESUS, he & John were arrested for preaching in JESUS’ Name.  The guards brought Peter & John before the high priest, rulers, elders & teachers.  Peter & John gave a bold testimony for JESUS saying, “‘Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.’  When they saw the courage of Peter & John & realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished & they took note that these men had been with JESUS” (Acts 4:12-13).

“Having been commanded not to preach in JESUS’ Name, Peter & John were released from prison & they met back up with their fellow believers to report all that had happened.  Then they prayed.  After suffering jail & persecution, they closed out their prayer, “Now, Lord, consider their threats & enable Your servants to speak Your Word with great boldness.  Stretch out Your Hand to heal & perform miraculous signs & wonders through the Name of Your Holy Servant JESUS” (Acts 4:29-30).

It blows me away that Peter & John returned from experiencing persecution & jail time to lead a prayer for God to enable them & the other believers to speak His Word with great boldness.  Wow!  I’ve got a lot to learn from their example!  Instead of praying for their safety & protection, the disciples were praying for greater boldness.  O Lord, bless me with greater faith to have such a powerful perspective 

How do we get this boldness that we see in Peter, John, Paul & the great men & women of faith—that honors & glorifies our LORD JESUS?

1) Surrender your heart to JESUS & make him your Supreme Audience.

2) Ask for the Lord to bless you with His zeal & boldness by the power of the Holy Spirit.    

3)Pray at the beginning of each day for the Lord to provide you with opportunities to speak highly for JESUS.*

*I encourage you to pray each morning for the next week for the Lord to provide opportunities to speak highly for JESUS.  Let me know what God does.  He loves to answer these prayers to lift up His Son! 

Sovereign Lord,

You are Awesome in Wonder & Power!  All Glory, Power, & Honor are Yours!  What an incredible privilege it is to come into Your Presence to worship You, O King of Kings!  Search my heart, convict me of unrighteousness & forgive me of my sins.  Forgive me for the many times that I’ve been a coward.  Empower me & my brothers & sisters with great boldness by the Holy Spirit to point the people around us to You as the only Savior.   Bless each of us with special opportunities to speak highly about JESUS.  Give us the right words with the right timing.  Draw people to surrender their lives to JESUS for the Glory of Your Name.  O Lord, help us for Your Name’s Sake.  Bless Your Holy Name!  It’s in JESUS’ Mighty & Most Holy Name that I pray.  Amen.

In His Love,

John 

JESUS is 1st!  To Him be All Glory!

Posted by: John | February 5, 2012

“Here am I. Send me!”

Brothers & Sisters,

I trust the Lord to encourage you in your faith walk with Him.  May the Lord bless you with greater faith & availability to serve Him as He leads you. 

“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted and the train of His robe filled the temple.  Above Him were seraphs, each with six wings; With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.  And they were calling to one another:

‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is filled with His glory.’

At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

‘Woe to me!’  I cried.  ‘I am ruined!  For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.’

Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar.  With it he touched my mouth and said, ‘See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.’ 

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send?  And who will go for us?’

And I said, ‘Here am I.  Send me!’”  (Isaiah 6:1-8).

What a magnificent description of our Almighty God. . . His Majesty, Holiness, Glory, & Grace are beyond measure & comprehension!  As you read the passage, you can’t help but realize your smallness & nothingness compared to the God of the Universe, the King of all Kings, the Alpha & Omega.  Likewise, Isaiah is overwhelmed by God’s Awesome Presence & Holiness.  As he beholds the Majesty of God, Isaiah hears the angels’ worship of the Lord saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is filled with His glory.”  The door posts & thresholds are shaking. . . & so is Isaiah’s heart.  Isaiah is gripped by the conviction & guilt of his sin before his Holy God.  He confesses his sin as he cries out, “Woe to me!  I am ruined!  For I am a man of unclean lips & I live among a people of unclean lips, & my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”  In this confession, Isaiah acknowledges that he doesn’t deserve to live after having seen the Perfect, Most Holy God.  The Lord then demonstrates His Mercy & Grace by sending the angel to touch Isaiah’s lips with a live coal from the altar to forgive his sin & to reconcile Isaiah to Himself. 

The Lord then asks the question, “Whom shall I send?  And who will go for us?”  Isaiah answers, “Here am I.  Send me!”  “Here am I” is a statement of location.  In a nutshell, Isaiah is humbly & rightly saying, “I’m available . . . if you can use me; I want to be a part of what You’re doing.”  If Isaiah would have said, “Here I am,” he would have been saying something entirely different.  “Here I am” is a statement of being.  It is like proudly saying, “Here I am with all my gifts & abilities. . . I’m an asset for Your Kingdom.”  “Here I am” is something a Pharisee would say.  This statement reflects a proud, self-absorbed heart that fails to maintain a righteous fear of the Lord.  Moreover, the statement represents a heart that does not acknowledge & give glory to the Lord Who makes all the difference.   

Let’s follow Isaiah’s great example.  Let us recognize the Incredible Gift of God’s Grace it is to abide in the Awesome Presence of the Lord Almighty as we worship Him & enjoy relationship with Him.  JESUS paid the Precious Price of His Blood at Calvary’s Cross to forgive our sin & make us right with God.  Let us respond to our Majestic Lord like Isaiah with the fear of the Lord, humility, gratitude, & indebtedness, “Here am I.  Send me!”

Gracious Heavenly Father,

I praise You for Your Majesty & Holiness!  You are the Almighty God, King of Kings, the Great I AM, the Alpha & Omega, the Creator of all things—seen & unseen.  Forgive me of my specific sins.  I’m humbled by Your Amazing Grace & Mercy to forgive us in JESUS!  I’m so indebted to You, O Lord.  Quicken me in Your Way by the Holy Spirit.  Here am I.  Send me!  Show me where You are at work around me & enable me to join you in Your work.  You are my All & All!  Help yourself to my life to glorify JESUS & fulfill Your purpose!  I ask it in all in JESUS’ Powerful Name.  Amen. 

In His Love,

John

JESUS is 1st!  To Him be All Glory!

Posted by: John | January 21, 2012

Available By Design

Brothers & Sisters, 
 
“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.  But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).
 
“Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2a,b).
 
On most days, I attempt to squeeze 10 pounds into a 5 pound bag & as a result, I have little to no margin.  I was humbled when God showed me what He can do if I just make myself available for Him.  I had worked well through the lunch hour & I started to leave the office at 315pm & to go grab a Subway sandwich.   As I was leaving, I realized I didn’t have my blackberry.  I felt naked without it & I thought about going back to get it, but then it dawned on me that it wasn’t by accident.  For anyone who knows how I am with that blackberry, they would attest that I am anything but available when it is in my hands.  I kept moving towards the elevators & whispered a prayer to the Lord, “This is by design that I don’t have my blackberry.  Lord, I want to make myself available for whatever You have for me at Subway.”  When I got to Subway, I found that no one was there.  Although once I approached the counter, a gentleman came out of the very back office to serve me.  This man & I had interacted several times before but it had always been rushed in the midst the hustle & bustle of a bunch of other customers.  After receiving my order, he started making my Spicy Italian Foot Long sandwich.  Then, he turned to me & unexpectedly asked, “Where do you go to church?”  After a few more conversation exchanges, it became clear that Kwaniem & I were both brothers in the Lord.  After celebrating that fact, our conversation turned towards a deeper, more passionate focus on the Lord & His Word.  Kwaniem shared some encouraging Scriptures with me while he continued to make me a delicious sandwich.  During our conversation, we noticed that a woman had entered & was standing in line listening intently to our conversation.  After a few more exchanges with Kwaniem, I acknowledged her saying, “I know we’re going on & on. . .we’re getting fired up.”  She turned to me with a smile & replied, “Please go on, I’m listening.”  We spoke for a couple more minutes more about how much the Lord meant to us as I paid for my sandwich.  Then, the woman interjected, “I am here by design. . .  I haven’t been to church in a long time & I needed to hear this.  I need to get my focus back on the Lord.”  We enjoyed a few more moments of fellowship together & found out her name was Kaneisha.  I praised the Lord for how He brought Kwaniem & Kaneisha across my path by His Sovereignty on that seemingly ordinary day.  And I was grateful for Kaneisha’s openness & for Kwaniem’s boldness to ask the question that kick-started our conversation about JESUS.
 
It was fascinating that in Kaneisha’s statement & my prayer, we both used the words “by design.”  Yet, when you think about it, our life is “by His design” for JESUS’ Purpose & Glory.  Paul writes, “For we are God’s workmanship (masterpiece), created in CHRIST JESUS to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).
 
Dear Heavenly Father,

We praise You for Your Amazing Grace & Sovereignty.  We thank You that You are always at work around us.  Forgive us for when we’re so caught up in our own agendas that we don’t notice what You’re doing & we don’t hear Your call to join You in Your work.  O Lord, bless us with sensitivity to Your Spirit’s leading in our every day lives.  Help us by Your Holy Spirit to live out of Your agenda for the glory of JESUS.  It’s in the Precious & Most Powerful Name of JESUS, we pray.  Amen.

In His Love,

John

JESUS is 1st!  To Him be All Glory!

Posted by: John | January 7, 2012

Trials Produce Intimacy with God

Brothers & Sisters,

I pray this finds you blessed in every way as you lean into & trust the Lord with all your heart!  

“Sometimes God calms the storm.  Sometimes He lets the storm rage . . . and He calms His child.” Anonymous 

“These (trials) have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine & may result in praise, glory & honor when JESUS CHRIST is revealed” (1 Peter 1:7).

“This is what the High and Lofty One says—He Who lives forever, Whose Name is Holy: ‘I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite’” (Isaiah 57:15). 

Why does the Lord often let the storms rage?  Why does God, in His Sovereignty, allow the trials to hit us like waves crashing on the beach?  Peter writes in 1 Peter 1:7 that our faith needs to be tested through trials in order to be made real & strong.  And it is for JESUS’ glory that our faith is strengthened & proved genuine in these trials.  Moreover, trials encourage us to lean hard into our Heavenly Father.  Through trying circumstances, we find that our true strength lies in the Lord.  Most importantly, during these times in the valley, we get to know the Lord intimately as our Almighty Rock, Refuge & Best Friend

A close friend of mine often says, “God is going to break us all down like an old shotgun.”  As the Lord states in Isaiah 57, He makes His home with the broken.  As I’ve shared before, the Lord has lovingly broken me down through numerous circumstances & trials over the last 5-6 years.  The Lord has had to get me to a place of brokenness where I can listen.  It is there that God’s truth sinks deeper into my heart & I thank God, acknowledging that every gift I have is from His Hand.  I’ve found that when I invite JESUS into my brokenness, He meets me & ministers to me in very special ways.  It is in brokenness that I cherish JESUS the most & exalt Him the highest.  Moreover, the Lord blesses me as I trust & obey Him.  I find the most precious fruit is a deeper trust & intimacy with my Almighty Lord & Savior. 

O Gracious Heavenly Father,

          I praise You for being the Lover of my soul!  Praise You for how you never stop pursuing me!  Thank You for allowing the trials to test & strengthen my faith in You for JESUS’ glory!   O Lord, I praise You for lovingly breaking me down, so I can trust You in a deeper way & experience a greater oneness with You.  O Lord, it is in brokenness that I cherish You the most & exalt You the highest!  Help me to carry this brokenness with me always so I might always hold onto You ever so tightly as the One Who alone makes me whole.   O God, thanks for reminding me through trials that You alone are my Strength & my Song!  Bless me with deeper roots in You for Your glory!  It’s in the Almighty Name of JESUS, I pray.  Amen.

In His Love,

John 

JESUS is 1st!  To Him be All Glory!

Posted by: John | December 21, 2011

Celebrate By Resting In JESUS This Christmas

Brothers & Sisters,

              I pray you have a most blessed Christmas season celebrating JESUS, our Blessed Savior & King of Kings!  I pray the Lord blesses you & your families with a special time of worship & thanksgiving for All He is!  Today I wanted to share how faith celebrates God’s Sovereign Power in our lives as we simply come to JESUS.

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. . .And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him” (Hebrews 11:1,6).

“No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength.  A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save.  But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear Him, on those whose hope is in His unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.  We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help & our shield.  In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His Holy Name.  May Your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in You” (Ps. 33:17-22).

“God is our refuge & strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar & foam & the mountains quake with their surging” (Ps. 46:1-3).

Without faith, it’s impossible to please God.  Without faith, we’re not plugged into JESUS, the Source of Strength & Purpose.  I personally acknowledge that there’s many times I live life “unplugged” & miss out on His blessings of strength, wisdom, love, peace, & joy.  As we read His Word, we see that many times over God exhorts us to turn from fear to faith in Him.  Reflecting on that, fear views the circumstances as things are spinning out of controlWhereas, faith in JESUS celebrates God’s Sovereign Power & Purpose in engineering all things—joy & suffering, life & death, seen & unseen, past, present & future for the glory of JESUSFurthermore, when we personally trust in the Lord, we celebrate the Lord & His unfailing Love to provide for our greatest good by leveraging everything in our life by His Sovereignty for JESUS’ glory!    

Are you living by faith or are you unplugged?   Earlier this Christmas season, I found myself unplugged.  I felt oppressed by the circumstances & I recognized that joy & peace were absent.  I turned to JESUS & literally said, “I’m coming!”  As I prayed, I found joy, peace & strength in His embrace.  JESUS said in His Word, “Come to Me, all you who are weary & burdened, & I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).  Come to JESUS & find His refreshment.  Place fresh faith in our Lord & Savior so He can refresh you with His confidence, strength, joy & peace.  Have a blessed Christmas celebrating JESUS, our Greatest Gift of all!!

Dear Heavenly Father,

We praise You, O Sovereign Lord!  Praise You for Your incredible grace to send JESUS to be our Emmanuel, Savior, & King!   Bless us with undivided hearts that celebrate Your Sovereignty with fresh faith.  When our circumstances don’t make sense, help us to trust Your Heart.   Bless us with greater faith, so we may plug into You, Your Presence & Power.  Help us by Your Holy Spirit to reflect Your Heart & glorify Your Name.  We trust You with our cares, concerns & fears.  Bless our focus this Christmas season to truly worship & exalt You, O JESUS!  It’s in the Precious & Most Powerful Name of JESUS, Our Savior, I pray.  Amen.    

In His Love,

John

JESUS is 1st!  To Him be All Glory!

Posted by: John | December 3, 2011

JESUS + Nothing = Everything

Brothers & Sisters,

I pray this finds you richly blessed as you cherish JESUS, our Most Precious Treasure!  

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).

“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation.  He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.  My salvation and my honor depend on God” (Psalm 62:5-7).

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart & my portion forever” (Psalm 73:26).

My great friend & mentor recently shared a couple illustrative Biblical equations:

JESUS + Nothing = Everything

As we focus on JESUS alone for our salvation & security, we celebrate JESUS as the Lord & Savior of our life.  When we recklessly abandon & trust the Lord to fill in the blanks in our life with what He wants for us, we experience His best.  Most importantly, the Lord satisfies our soul through His abundant, intimate relationship that JESUS died & rose again to give us.  Moreover, God blesses us with an adventurous life of faith where He reveals Himself & faithfully shows Himself strong in our weakness.  If our life is a pie, JESUS is clearly the Center.  He is our Ruling Passion Who drives every aspect of our life.

 JESUS + Something = A Temporary Fix

When we focus on JESUS plus other things, we live a shallower life that is more about us than Him.  We are filling in the blanks of our own life instead of truly surrendering to God.  Our life is characterized by pursuing our own agenda.  If our life is a pie, JESUS is merely a piece and far from being the Central Source.  We’re not cherishing & worshipping the Lord as the Source of our life’s significance & meaning.  Instead, we’re seeking significance in the stuff (i.e. success, power, wealth, status, popularity) of this world, which can at best provide only a temporary fix.     

O Gracious Father,

I praise You for being the Strength of my life & my Portion forever!  You are my Most Precious Treasure!  I celebrate You as the One Who defined me with Your Unconditional Love poured out so at Calvary through Your Son.  Forgive me, Father, for how I have allowed myself to be distracted by the idols of this world!  Find rest, O my soul, in God alone!  Only You can satisfy my soul!  Bless me with greater faith that recklessly abandons to You!  Take all of me, bless me with oneness with You, & make this life fully count for JESUS’ Glory!  It’s in the Precious & Most Powerful Name of JESUS, I pray.  Amen.

In His Love,

John 

JESUS is 1st!  To Him be All Glory!

Categories

%d bloggers like this: