Friday, June 22, 2012

X-press Image

Arriving at “X” in our journey through the alphabet demands some creativity in our spelling!  Oh, but what a glorious view of Christ we will receive.  Our primary text verse comes from Hebrews 1, verse 3:

Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

Jesus is the “X-press image” of our glorious God.  The NIV translation uses the phrase “X-act representation.”  Jesus pours forth the very glory of God like the rays of the sun bringing light to the earth!  The supreme joy of our lives is to know Jesus more—to know God more.  When we focus our eyes on the life of Christ, we see what our own lives are to look like.  It is a humbling, challenging look, which gives immeasurable meaning to each life.

Turning our eyes back Jesus’ arrival on this earth, we see Him trust the Father’s purposes so much He left the riches of heaven for the womb of a young mother.  Christ’s confidence in the manifest power and wisdom of God propelled Him to forsake all for the Father’s purposes of redeeming a lost world.  That confidence was not misplaced for all of Christ’s life proved the faithfulness of the Father.  Divine provision for earthly needs came from hearts moved by the Spirit of God:  wise men of the orient supplied finances, faithful servants in the temple gave nourishment to the souls of his parents; Mary and Joseph nurtured the precious treasure of Christ. 

Throughout Christ’s earthly life, the will of the Father drove all that He did.  The glory of God was His in obedience.  The miracles, the teaching, the betrayals—Jesus knew each and every detail of His life had divine purpose.  He received the circumstances of life with confidence in the Father’s plan.  Christ never chose the work He would do…the needs of humanity did not drive Him.  Neither personal fame nor even self-protection compelled the actions of Christ.  Nothing but the will of His Father directed Christ.

Christ accepted all as Father-filtered, and the radiance of God revealed itself!  As He lived this earthly life, He felt the hardship and difficulty of obedience through His sufferings.  Jesus prepared for His role as High Priest for you and me through enduring great suffering.  In fact, Christ’s suffering brought such anxiety He sweat drops of blood as He contemplated the personal cost.  Christ understands—understood—that the glory of God transforms trials.  He longs for us to understand that as well.  The purpose of God is to give us hope and a future.  Like Christ, we can trust in the Father’s plan.  In fact, God desires that destiny for each of us:  transformation by gazing at His glory.   The X-press image of God—the essence of Christ—is love that is willing to sacrifice self in obedience to fulfill the will of God.  Living with our eyes fixed on the glory of Christ brings His glory to this world!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Well of Living Waters

Today’s view of the Lord reminds us that He is the source of endless supply:  He is a Well of Living Water.  The nation of Israel experienced many reminders of water’s value.  Palestine receives little rain from May to October; the preciousness of water never fades from view.  Divine provision of water preserved lives in several scriptural accounts.  Wells of water were treasured possessions and family inheritances.  Christ’s revelation of Himself as the Well of Living Water is a divine provision and priceless treasure!

Receiving Jesus as the Well transforms us.  Jesus promises that living water will flow from the life of all who drink of Him.  The prophets often spoke of the living water to come.  Ezekiel reported that because of the Living Water, “…the fruit will serve for food and the leaves for healing.”  A life nourished by Christ blesses others.  Isaiah spoke of the joy that accompanies drawing water from the well of salvation.  The pure Well of Living Water cleanses our hearts and allows us to enter into the joy of eternal life.  In John’s revelation, the Lamb leads heaven’s residents to the Living Fountain of Waters where God wipes away all tears.  Our Well never runs dry for the eternal one is our source.  The Well of Living Waters flows with wisdom and understanding.  Christ is the Well that makes the garden of our earthly life bloom with beauty and hope.

Proverbs contains much wisdom about wells.  Scripture identifies our heart as the wellspring of life.  Exercising caution in choosing a source for that wellspring is imperative.  The Well of Living Waters is available to all—but it is a personal supply.  We must carefully protect our Well from the contamination of impure additions.  We are to share generously but carefully of our supply by inviting others to walk with us to our Source.  Lives that draw upon the Well of Living Waters create a thirst for Jesus—and a path to the Source for others.

A life that does not draw upon the Well of Living Waters withers away.  The shallowness of any other ‘life’ source limits potential.  Without the Well, the roots of faith never penetrate to the depths that provide nourishment.  Without the Well, the ears of faith tune to sentimental messages and resist deep truths.  Without the Well, the foundations of life settle on dry, sand soil that shifts—and lives crumble.  Without the Well, shallow hearts blow from place to place always thirsting.  We must drink deeply of the Well allowing it to flow forth into the dry, thirsty land around each of us!

Friday, June 8, 2012


Our alphabet journey stops today at “V” and focuses our eyes (and our ears) on the Voice calling to each of us.  In Revelation 1, John records that he heard a great voice and turned to it.  His risen Lord, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, spoke to him, revealing mysteries we still wait to understand fully.  This same Great Voice spoke the world into being, and it is the Voice calling continually to each of us.  It is a Voice of wisdom and power and life.  Turning to that Voice as John did gives us visions of hope and glory unequalled by any other thing!

Simply considering how scripture describes the Voice blesses the soul.  The Voice of God roars like a rushing waterfall and trumpets loudly, yet it also whispers gently.  The Voice commands with authority, confronts in righteousness, and calls with persistent love!  The Voice always testifies to Truth and announces the presence of God.  The impact of the Voice depends on the heart condition of the ‘hearer.’  God’s voice brings terror to those pursuing sin; yet it generates joy in those seeking the Lord.   Heartbreakingly, for some the Voice is either unheard or ignored as empty noise.  This Voice has a message of critical, eternal importance; we need to hear it, heed it and proclaim it!

The message of the Voice is personal, yet always consistent from one person to the next.  The Voice speaks to each heart applying the Word of God in unique ways.  The Voice gives a message of love and mercy, yet also a message of God’s glory and righteous judgment.  The Voice is never silent for God created humanity to fellowship with Himself.  He speaks eternally of His longing for us to know Him fully.  The Voice speaks to a need every heart feels giving a message of hope and peace. Preparing our hearts to understand the message of the Voice requires us to be still and listen.

This is a noisy world.  There is much calling for our attention.  Proverbs instructs us that there are two primary voices in this world:  the Voice of Wisdom and the Voice of the Adulteress.  There is the faithful voice of the Lord—wisdom personified, and there is the deceptive voice of the Unfaithful—foolishness embodied.  The voice we heed affects the outcome of our lives.  The Voice of God instructs and guides all who seek to know His way.  We must choose to reject the voice of foolishness and obey the Voice of God.  The words of Jesus Himself assure us that He knows those who hear Him.  Being known by Christ brings us security in this world and assurance of eternal life.  What joy we have from hearing and heeding Him!  Let us lift our voices in praise, attracting others to His Voice. 


Friday, June 1, 2012

Upholder of All

Today’s focus on the Lord will lighten our burdens:  He is the Upholder of all things!  Back at the beginning of our journey, we considered the truth that Jesus is the Bearer of sin.  The freedom in that is the hope of our souls.  Contemplating Christ as the Upholder of All frees us to go through life unhindered by weights that hold us captive.  Holding onto burdens God never intended for us to carry keeps us from His glorious plans and purposes.

The old saying that ‘God never gives us more than we can bear’ is true only if we allow Him to be the One who carries us through the hardships of life.  Sometimes the consequences of living in a sin-wrecked world deliver greater heartache than even the strongest soul can take.  Hebrews 1:3 tells us that Christ upholds all things by the power of His Word.  Jesus is the Word in flesh.  The great truths of scripture walked the earth in the life of Christ; the great truths of scripture conquered death and restored the hope of life to mankind.  Only the Word of God has power to bear all that this world delivers.

Our human limits are a blessing!  Until we reach the end of ourselves, we do not even recognize the need for Christ’s unlimited ability to bear our burdens.  The New Living Translation renders Proverbs 24:10 as “If you fail under pressure, your strength is too small.”  Praise God that the pressures of life make it very clear to us that our strength is too small!  God’s Word consistently records the limits and failings of Bible greats.  It is in our humble acceptance of limits that we are of the most use to God.  Self-sufficient saints discourage seekers.  Do-it-yourself Christianity--pull yourself up by the bootstraps theology--lacks the resilience needed to accomplish eternal good.  Many things are too hard for us.  The key to praising God in all things is realizing that nothing is too hard for Him!

Indeed, we can do all things--but only in Christ Jesus!  The Psalmist describes Israel’s deliverance in Egypt as the Lord removing their shoulder from its burden.  Is there a burden God wants to remove your shoulder from?  Faith allows us to step aside and let Christ be our Upholder.  The weakness that moves us into partnership with Christ becomes divine strength that brings the glory of God to the world. 

Finally, we are to remember that Christ bears not only our sins and burdens; our eternal souls are in His care.  The Upholder of All secures our souls.  Our very life is in Christ—who sits at the righteous right hand of the Father!  Our journey through this life rests in the One created, redeemed and sustains all.  The security of that removes all weights!  We can cast all of our cares on Him—throwing off the weights that entangle—to bring His light into the world that God loves!