Mar 10, 2011 - Thursday Meditation (And Did it God's Way!)
When we try run our life our own way, we end up losing it to futility. Only God can free us from our ignorance and sinful ways. When we surrender our lives to God, he gives us new life in his Spirit and the pledge of eternal life. When the body is very weak or ill, we make every effort to nurse it back to health. How much more effort and attention should we give to the spiritual health of our hearts and minds!
Thursday after Ash Wednesday
Psalm 1:1-2, 3, 4+6
Luke 9:22-25 "The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised." 23 And he said to all, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?
Meditation by Don Schwager
Do you know the healing, transforming power of the cross? When Jesus predicted his passion his disciples were dismayed. Rejection and crucifixion meant defeat and condemnation, not victory and freedom. How could Jesus' self-denial, suffering and death lead to victory and life? Through his obedience to his Father's will, Jesus reversed the curse of Adam’s disobedience. His death on the cross won pardon for the guilty, freedom for the oppressed, healing for the afflicted, and new life for those condemned to death. His death makes possible our freedom to live as sons and daughters of God. There’s a certain paradox in God’s economy. We lose what we gain, and we gain what we lose. When we try run our life our own way, we end up losing it to futility. Only God can free us from our ignorance and sinful ways. When we surrender our lives to God, he gives us new life in his Spirit and the pledge of eternal life. God wants us to be spiritually fit to serve
him at all times. When the body is very weak or ill, we make every effort to nurse it back to health. How much more effort and attention should we give to the spiritual health of our hearts and minds!
What will you give to God in exchange for freedom and eternal life? Are you ready to part with anything that might keep you from following him and his perfect plan for your life? Jesus poses these questions to challenge our assumptions about what is most profitable and worthwhile in life. In every decision of life we are making ourselves a certain kind of person. It is possible that some can gain all the things they set their heart on, only to wake up suddenly and discover that they missed the most important things of all. A true disciple is ready to give up all that he or she has in exchange for happiness and life with God. The life which God offers is abundant, everlasting life. And the joy which God places in our hearts no sadness or loss can diminish.
The cross of Jesus Christ leads to freedom and victory over sin and death. What is the cross which Christ commands me to take up each day as his disciple? When my will crosses with his will, then his will must be done. The way of the cross involves sacrifice, the sacrifice of laying down my life each and every day for Jesus' sake. What makes such sacrifice possible and "sweet" is the love of God poured out for us in the blood of Jesus Christ. Paul the Apostle reminds us that "God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit" (Romans 5:5). We can never outgive God. He always gives us more than we can expect or imagine. Are you ready to lose all for Christ in order to gain all with Christ?
"Lord Jesus, I give you my hands to do your work. I give you my feet to go your way. I give you my eyes to see as you do. I give you my tongue to speak your words. I give you my mind that you may think in me. I give you my spirit that you may pray in me. Above all, I give you my heart that you may love in me, your Father, and all mankind. I give you my whole self that you may grow in me, so that it is you, Lord Jesus, who live and work and pray in me." (Prayer from The Grail)
The LORD is My Shepherd
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. - Psalm 23:4
If you ever get the chance, you have to try to make a trip to the land of Israel . Not only will it help you to better understand the worldview of the writers of the Scriptures, but the aesthetic beauty alone of that wonderful land will leave you awestruck.
Now when we read today’s passage, it’s important to understand the geography of the land where David lived. When he talks about the “valley of the shadow,” he’s probably thinking of a literal valley in Israel that’s 1,500 feet deep in some places and was cut by a river flowing from Jerusalem down to the Dead Sea .
Quite often, shepherds would have to lead their sheep on the treacherous trip through this valley to get water from the river. And not only was the terrain rugged, but all kinds of predators could hide in the cliffs. So when it came time for the shepherd to move his sheep up through the valley, he had to give special care as he led those sheep into such a dangerous situation.
David begins Psalm 23 with the famous words, “The LORD is my shepherd.” And the Lord is your shepherd as well. You can step confidently into any spiritual valley knowing that he will guide you and protect you from the enemy. There is no evil that can stand against him!
IN THE DARK VALLEYS OF LIFE, TRUST THAT THE LORD JESUS, YOUR SHEPHERD, WILL GUIDE AND PROTECT YOU FROM ALL EVIL! - Jack Graham
In : MEDITATIONS