What Jesus is to me

In the darkest night He’s comfort
In the raging storm He’s peace
In my need He is provision
That’s what Jesus is to me

When I’m fearful He’s my boldness
When I’m weak He is my strength
In my sorrow He is all joy
That’s what Jesus is to me

In questionings He is the answer
A shepherd to this wandering sheep
A sure escape in all temptation
That’s what Jesus is to me

In failures He is my forgiveness
In trials He is my relief
A faithful friend when I’m forsaken
That’s what Jesus is to me

In the end He’ll be my guide
To lead me to eternity
In death He’ll be my resurrection
That’s what Jesus is to me

Taking His Name in Vain

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold Him guiltless who takes His name in vain.”  Exodus 20:7

I had always associated taking His name in vain with words – whether profanity or a carelessly tossing around of His name in casual conversation.  However, something different is beginning to appear from this verse.

When we speak of taking someone’s name, we think of marriage.  Of a woman taking a man’s name.  This is an outward acknowledgement of the legal covenant she has entered into.  But this covenant involves much more, because after the taking of the name, the identification of the two as now one, there must be a continued investment in the emotional/relational aspect of the commitment.  Otherwise she has taken his name in vain because there is no substance to the union.  It is a mere outward form.  Something that gives her a measure of comfort and security, but provides no real or lasting joy for either.  This is not commitment, it is convenience.

This indeed is a danger we must be aware of.  We who are believers have taken the name of Christ.  We have identified ourselves with Him and as His.  But this becomes empty and worthless if there is not a cherishing of His Person, a delight in His Presence and a longing to know Him even as we are known.  A daily communion is needed and should be desired.

Lord, please do no ever let me get to the point that I have taken your name in vain, merely as a convenience, a balm to soothe my conscience.  But may my heart be fully engaged in a lifelong pursuit of ever deepening fellowship with You.

No Tears

Ezekiel 24 is a very difficult passage for me to understand.  The prophet’s wife died and the Lord did not allow him to grieve for her.  What must it have been like for Ezekiel to obey that command?  How is such a thing even possible?  But Scripture records “and at evening my wife died, and the next morning I did as I was commanded.”  Ezekiel 24:18

Even in his time of sorrow, the prophet was expected to represent the Lord and be faithful to his calling.  There are no vacations for those who have separated themselves to God. All of life becomes focused on presenting Him to and representing Him before lost humanity.

Lord, I am too easily moved by my emotions rather than your commands.  You would have me put your desires above my own, yet so often I do not.  I feel the need, and even the entitlement, to indulge my feelings.  Even when I know they run contrary to Your word.  This is not the life You have called me to.

For you have called me to obey, in love, without reservation.  You have called me to live for the One who gave all to purchase me.  You have called me to forget myself and count all things loss – for You.  This is the life You have called me to.

This isn’t a life for sissies.

A door for the Word

“meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains.”  Colossians 4:3

There was a time when I thought it was very important that God should open a door for my “ministry”.  I prayed for this and believed for this.  I look back on that time in my life now and am ashamed of myself.  How utterly selfish and self-seeking those prayers were.  I did want Jesus to be glorified….as long as it happened through me.  And of course I would certainly remain a humble servant while being celebrated as an anointed woman of God. 

As ridiculous as that sounds, that really was the essence of my thoughts at one point in my life.  While I might have prayed for God to open a door for the gospel, I really wanted Him to open a door for me. 

The Lord rescued me from this mindset through a great disappointment that left me hurting and heart broken for a very long time.  Today I can look back at it and thank Him from the depths of my heart for it.

I still pray for God to open doors, and He still does.  And while I have the privilege of walking through those doors, I understand now that they are not for me.  They are for the furtherance of this great gospel of Jesus Christ.  

Spurgeon quote

From Spurgeon’s sermon “Christ Precious to Believers”

…he who really has this high estimate of Jesus will think much of him, and as the thoughts are sure to run over at the mouth, he will talk much of him. Do we so? If Jesus is precious to you, you will not be able to keep your good news to yourself; you will be whispering it into your child’s ear; you will be telling it to your husband; you will be earnestly imparting it to your friend; without the charms of eloquence you will be more than eloquent; your heart will speak, and your eyes will flash as you talk of his sweet love. Every Christian here is either a missionary or an impostor. Recollect that. You either try to spread abroad the kingdom of Christ, or else you do not love him at all. It cannot be that there is a high appreciation of Jesus and a totally silent tongue about him.