Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Door

As we continue on our journey of looking at ways Jesus is depicted in scripture, we are stopping by John 10:7-10.

Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

In this passage, Jesus describes Himself as The Door. He says, in effect, He is the gate to abundant life--to pastures of provision and rest. Later in the book of John, Jesus broadens the description: not only is He the door, He is the way. The depth of encouragement in the word picture is without end! Indeed, Jesus is our all in all...He is the door; the source; the way to life. In fact, Jesus is life itself.

Sometimes we find our way to 'the Door' through difficult times. We tend to be distracted in life by doorways which look promising for one reason or another...'false' doorways which lead to death. Satan, the great deceiver, loves to present false 'doors'--dead ends. He loves to obscure the 'Door,' but in Revelation we see a truth that is eternal...Jesus is the open door which Satan can not close!

In Hosea, God promised He would exchange the valley of trouble for a 'Door' of hope to those who turn to Him. Paul reminds us that through faith in Jesus, we have access to a place of grace. We enter through Jesus, the Door, into the very riches of God. Let us go through the 'Door' moment by moment into the spacious, abundant life God has planned for us!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Changeless One

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.
Hebrews 13:8

Change. Sometimes we welcome it. Sometimes we abhor and resist it. Always it is a part of our lives. As created beings in a created world, we are designed to change. One of God's purposes is our transformation into the likeness of Christ. Oh, what a privilege and glorious change that is!! But this devotion isn't about us, is it? We are looking together at our awesome God who is changeless!

Eternally unchanging is an incomprehensible concept to us. Yet it is a truth we can peek at and confidently build our lives upon. Throughout scripture God is identified with the attribute of immutability. Certainly this is not implying that God is static and stationary; He is dynamic--life itself. It is the essence of God which is immutable—His essence never changes.

The foundation of 'who God is' has complete integrity. His character has 'no variation or shadow cast by turning' (James 1:17). God's plans, purposes and promises are rock solid. He Himself has declared: 'For I the Lord do not change.' (Malachi 3:6)

At the inception of ‘time’, God spoke creation into being with power and for a purpose. Scripture further enlightens us as to God’s character with the truth that He has individual plans and purposes for each of us. God has the power to bring all of His plans and purposes about; His unchanging nature assures He will do just that.

May His unchanging nature and the perpetual possibility of change for you and I fill us to overflowing with worship for Him today!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Jesus, our Banner

Though we are called to walk by faith and not by sight, God understands how hard that is for us. Throughout scripture God provides focal points to encourage us, His children. The picture of Jesus as our Shepherd reminds us of God's leading and care. The destination of a promised land filled with abundance calls our eyes to His provision and plan for us. The title King of Kings and Lord of Lords calls the eyes of our hearts to trust in His power and control. Today let's look at another image God has given. It is one which rejoices the heart, brightens the eyes and even draws others to Him. Can you guess it? It is the banner. We sing of it, we use Christian flags; but do we recall the banner in the midst of life when we need it most?

Flags and banners are a common tool of every society in every age; they are a visual reminder of common ideals. The banner of scripture is a reminder of God's love, His truth and ultimately, His victory. All other flags and banners hang limp in its glorious presence! The banner of God is a gift to those who revere Him. It is raised up by God Himself to call us to a life of courage and joy. The banner is a visual reminder to the children of God that He is loving and powerful; and the banner has another objective. God's blessings are always to be used to bless others. The banner is a gift God gives us that we can raise to call the world He loves so much to come into His purposes.

The Song of Solomon offers us a beautiful picture of the banner's uses. Early in the Song, the beloved shares her delight in the banquet she has been brought to under the banner of love. Christ has brought us, His redeemed, to a feast of undeserved blessing by His love. As we look to Him, we are filled with over-flowing joy. Jesus Himself is our loving banner and source of blessing!

Later in the Song, we hear from the lover who proclaims that His beloved is as awe-inspiring as a conquering army with its banners flying. Our joy in Jesus, our banner, produces a life of victory that draws the eyes of others to the awesomeness of God. Jesus is the banner our world needs. When we see Him as our banner, our lives will be a beacon for others to gaze upon Him too.

May our eyes be fixed on Jesus, our banner, and may others see His glory in you and me today!

"And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all to Myself." John 12:32

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Advocate...or accuser?

Would you like to join me on a weekly journey? Part of my devotional plan for the new year is to focus each week on a unique aspect of Jesus. This choice is to further two goals I have set for 2010:
  • feed my longing to cooperate fully with God's purposes of transforming me into the likeness of Christ...
  • and to enter into the gates of the Lord with thanksgiving and praise.

This past week I've contemplated Jesus' role as my advocate with the Father. I am so undeserving of this work on my behalf and not nearly as grateful as I should be. Transforming my head knowledge into living, active love is a slow process. Yet God remains faithful and Jesus advocates moment by moment for me. The Lord's willingness to suffer long through my failures is a model I need to contemplate daily. My heart was pierced with the realization that I naturally emulate Satan: the accuser of the brethren. Our world needs no more natural pictures of Satan or even pictures of the work of the natural man. What a joy to gaze upon this beautiful work of Christ and seek to be more like Him!

Father, forgive me of my sins and cleanse me of these habits of criticism I've learned and practiced most of my life. Lead me into praise for Jesus, His work on my behalf and the privilege of copying His work for those whose lives I touch. In Jesus' name, Amen

My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
(1 John 2:1)