Sunday, September 30, 2007

Overcoming the Devil

Lord Christ, your blood
Became a flood
Of grace and peace
And full release
To vanquish all
The Devil's gall;
To neutralize
The Devil's lies.

We testify:
You came to die
And rise again
For sinful men.
You paid sin's price--
Our sacrifice.
We trust in you,
And we're made new.

So the great dragon was thrown out--the ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the one who deceives the whole world. ... the accuser of our brothers...the one who accuses them before our God day and night. They conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they did not love their lives in the face of death.
--Revelation 12:9-11, HCSB

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Fruit

Fruit for your pleasure
We not can measure:
In the vine growing--
Holy sap flowing--
Yield we're now able
Fruit for your table.

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
--John 15:5

Friday, September 28, 2007

Living Clean and Free

With our eyes
Toward the skies,
Pure within,
Freed from sin
By the word
We have heard,
Living right
In the light,
We're now saved,
Not enslaved.

Stubborn sin,
Long within,
Has been killed
(Blood was spilled).
We rejoice
At the voice
That has said
Our sin's dead.
We're alive!
Now we thrive.

...We know that Christ, having been raised from the dead, no longer dies. Death no longer rules over Him. For in that He died, He died to sin once for all; but in that He lives, He lives to God. So, you too consider yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, so that you obey its desires.
--Romans 6:9-12, HCSB

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Their Deeds Follow Them

When this life's done
And death has come,
It's not the fun
That makes your sum.

If you die in
The Living Lord,
Your works in him
Will find reward,

And you will rest--
No labor-stress--
And will be blessed
With fruitfulness.

And I heard a voice from heaven saying, "Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on." "Blessed indeed," says the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!"
--Revelation 14:13, ESV

Sunday, September 23, 2007

September Photos

We often forget to see the beauty and the interesting things around us, and if we do see them, we forget to thank God for them. Here are a few things I saw this month (in addition to family; I'm not posting those at this time).









Friday, September 21, 2007

Judgment

The final court of life and death--
Its wonder snatches up the breath.
In condemnation, millions wait
For any hope, but it's too late.

Yet other millions, saved through grace,
All bow before a welcome face.
Joy! All their sin is purged away;
And all Christ's virtue sent their way.

Friend, trust him now! Today's the day,
Before that judgment comes your way.


There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:1

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Adam and Jesus

Adam lost his way.
Jesus said, "I am the way."
Adam was deceived.
Jesus said, "I am... the truth."
Adam brought death.
Jesus said, "I am... the life."

Jesus died--
Was crucified
And then arose--
The grave un-closed--
To thus reverse
The mighty curse;
To offer grace
To Adam's race.
Do you believe?
Will you receive
All He will give,
And so, then, live?

"Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father, except my me.' "
--John 14:6

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Devotional: The Whole Gospel

The Gospel, the good news, begins with the message of forgiveness of our sins through Jesus. However, it doesn't end there. It also includes such things as
  • The power of the Holy Spirit for enabling us to serve the Lord
  • The gifts of the Holy Spirit for building up the church
  • Works of mercy and compassion
  • Works of justice and of liberation
  • Answered prayer

All of these other things are wonderful and important parts of what we have in Christ. Yet, just as windows and walls and doors can't be used without a foundation, so these are not ours to claim and use unless we have the foundation of life in Jesus Christ.

According to God's grace that was given to me, as a skilled master builder I have laid a foundation, and another builds on it. But each one must be careful how he builds on it, because no one can lay any other foundation than what has been laid--that is, Jesus Christ.
--1 Corinthians 3:10-11, HCSB

Prayer: Lord, enable me to believe and to live the real gospel, the whole gospel...founded on Jesus.

Note: I originally posted this devotional, then un-posted it, fearing that some would think I was teaching that we are saved by grace plus works, though that's not what I wrote nor what I meant. After consideration, I'm re-posting this.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Devotional: What's Your Gospel?

What message do you have for people? Is a motivational message that can help them get through the day, or is it good news that can enable them to flourish through eternity? Are you satisfied if those you love are respectable, healthy and moderately happy? Or do you long for them to know God through Jesus? Do you believe people just need a little reforming, or do you believe they need a completely new life that only the Holy Spirit of God can give?

If your message and your passion for people are merely motivation and respectability and health and happiness and reform, you really don't have a Christian message. The apostle Paul said, "I delivered to you as of first importance that which I also received: That Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures, and that he appeared first to Cephas [Peter], then to the Twelve, then to more 500 of the brothers at one time..." (1 Corinthians 15).

If your message for people doesn't require the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, why not?

Prayer: Father, let me communicate the true Good News from you, not my own imitation.

Monday, September 10, 2007

I Drove By Death the Other Day

I drove by death the other day.
He'd stopped for someone in a van
Who didn't know that death would come
So quickly, with such sudden force.

I drove on by and never knew
Just who old death had snagged this time.
I saw the tarp and saw the cops,
Then shivered and went on my way.

"...Death spread to all men because all sinned..."
--Romans 5:12, ESV

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Pouring Out the Wine

Words of living wine flow
  Washing away spiritual debris
    Flooding parched soul-land
Announcing eternal news of hope


Father, use the holy flow
  Grow the planted seeds of life
    Rescue and fill the cup who hears
So more fresh wine will flow


"And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty."

--Matthew 13:23, NASB

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Cold Heart

My heart is hard and cold and dry
As corn husks blown by November wind.
My heart is trapped as leaves are trapped,
Blown into chain-link fence.
I try to love, but quickly sink
To brassy lust again.
I try to worship, feel the hypocrite,
And look for pleasure--or for sin.
I know my heart's not dead yet.
It still delights when God's side wins.
But, Lord, this cold heart scares me.
Bring the fire once again.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
And sustain me with a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners will be converted to You.

--Psalm 51:10-13, NASB

Note: I wrote this poem a number of years ago. It would be nice to be able to say I'm now beyond needing such repentance, but that wouldn't be true. My heart can still be terribly hard at times. Yet one of the signs of truly being the Lord's people is that we DO persist, even when the Christian life is tough and we've failed badly. We come back to the Father, plead for his grace, and he answers. He takes our repentance and develops character in us. Sometimes it's a slow process, due to our stubbornness, but He does it.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

I Saw Jesus

I saw Jesus Christ today--
Saw him, though it's hard to say
Just exactly when or where,
But in humble Christians, he was there.
When I touched a simple one,
I was touching God's own Son.

Thank you, Lord, for such a grace--
That I might touch your hand or face.


And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'
--Matthew 25:40, ESV

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Cat on Lap

I stroke your silky fur
And listen to you purr.
Obeying unknown laws,
You knead me with your claws.
You lift your little nose.
Your eyelids almost close.
Quite suddenly you're done.
You jump, and off you run.