Perfect Love

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O perfect life of love!  All, all, is finished now.

All that He left His throne above

To do for us below.

No work is left undone of all the Father willed;

His toil, His sorrows, one by one,

The Scriptures have fulfilled.

No pain that we can share but He has felt its smart;

All forms of human grief and care

Have pierced that tender heart.

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And on His thorn-crowned head and on His sinless soul

Our sins in all their guilt were laid

That He might make us whole.

In perfect love He dies;  for me He dies, for me.

O all atoning Sacrifice,

I cling by faith to Thee.

Alonso Cano

In every time of need, before the judgment throne,

Thy work, O Lamb of God, I’ll plead,

Thy merits, not mine own.

Yet, work, O Lord, in me as Thou for me hast wrought;

And let my love the answer be

To grace Thy love has brought.

~Henry W. Baker

Artwork by Paulo DuqueFrade, Gilles Catelin and Alonso Cano

 

 

May 1 Lamb of God

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Judges 13:1-14:20;  John 1:29-51;  Psalm 102:1-28;  Proverbs 14:15-16

“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God,

who takes away the sin of the world!”  John 1:29

Where?

I don’t see a lamb, let alone a lamb from God.

Oh wait, I see a flock of sheep in the distance, maybe there’s a lamb or two there.  Can’t tell from this distance.

Yes, I know that lambs are slaughtered at Passover to take care of our sins once a year.

What a bloody mess.  So much noise, and stink, and blood.

All I see is a man I haven’t seen around here before, and the guy doing the baptizing looked straight at him and said those words about a Lamb of God.

I wonder if that guy realizes he’s been spoken of as a Lamb with all that it implies.

A bloody mess.

Stinking sin.

Death.

Don’t ever call me a Lamb.

Lord Jesus, thank you for being our Lamb–our sacrifice–who willingly let your blood be shed for our sins.  Let us not shrink from the messy talk of sin, of blood, of sacrifice–the not so pretty sight of the Cross.  That messy business of the Cross covered the greater mess of our sinful lives so that we can stand before you now and forever covered with your righteousness.  May we live in gratitude for all you have done for us as the Lamb of God.  In your name we pray, Amen.

 

January 9 The Impossible

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Image by Wagner Daniel

Genesis 20:1-22:24;  Matthew 7:15-29;  Psalm 9:1-12;  Proverbs 2:16-22

For those who have faith, God asks the impossible…

Like Abraham…when God called, Abraham said, ‘Here I am.’  Then God said,”Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah.  Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains.”  Genesis 22:1-2

I don’t know what went through Abraham’s mind when he heard God’s command, but I know that he was obedient.  “Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son, Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife.”  Genesis 22:6

I don’t know what Abraham thought when his son, Isaac, asked him what they would use for the sacrifice, but I know that he told Isaac the truth.  “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”  Genesis 22:8

I don’t know Abraham’s thoughts as he reached for the sharp knife to slay his son, but I know he would have gone through with it because it took the angel of the Lord to stop him.  “Do not lay a hand on the boy! Do not do anything to him.  Now I know you fear God because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”  Genesis 22:12

Abraham trusted in God alone to provide, even when faced with the impossible.

And God did provide the lamb of sacrifice–a ram for Abraham– and His only Son, Jesus Christ for all the world.

Lord God, when faced with seemingly impossible situations, grant us eyes of faith to trust you to provide.  Because you did not withhold your only Son, but sent him to be the sacrificial Lamb for the sins of the world, we know that you will not leave us–that you will graciously provide for us.  Strengthen our faith in you that we may rely on your unfailing goodness and mercy.  For Jesus’ sake we pray, Amen.

“Those who know your name will trust in you,

for you, Lord, have never forsaken

those who seek you.”

Psalm 9:10

 

August 30 Gorilla Glue

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Job 34:1-36:33:  2 Corinthians 4:1-12;  Psalm 44:1-8;  Proverbs 22:10-12

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.  We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed;  perplexed, but not driven to despair;  persecuted, but not forsaken;  struck down, but not destroyed.”  2 Corinthians 4:7-9

Gorilla glue is great!  Tight bond.  Incredible strength.  It makes broken things like new, able to function.  To last.

In and of ourselves, our weak human bodies (yes, weak in spite of hours of weight training and exercise!) are vulnerable to the stresses of daily living.  Even more so when we are under pressure or physically attacked or abused.

We at times find ourselves at a “breaking point”–maybe due to circumstances of our own making. Maybe not.

As believers, though, God’s Spirit within us holds us together–like gorilla glue.  Our spirit remains intact and bears witness to God’s power and strength.

After a period of suffering one may be asked, “How did you do it?  Survive?” 

Answer:  God’s gorilla glue of the gospel–the life of Jesus in me through faith!

Lord God,  thank you for Christ’s broken body on the Cross and for your power which raised Him from the dead.  In times of despair, affliction, perplexity and persecution, we have the assurance that you are with us.  You hold us together.  You keep us from destruction.  May people come to know of Your surpassing love, mercy and grace through us.  May we share the source of our perseverance, purpose, and strength found only in You.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

You are my strength when I am weak
You are the treasure that I seek
You are my all in all
I’m seeking You like a precious jewel
Lord, to give up I’d be a fool
You are my all in all

Jesus, Lamb of God
Holy is Your name
Jesus, Lamb of God
Holy is Your name

Taking my cross my sin my shame
Raising again I praise Your name
You are my all in all
When I fall down You pick me up
When I run dry You fill my cup
You are my all in all

Jesus, Lamb of God
Holy is Your name
Jesus, Lamb of God
Holy is Your name.

(lyrics by Dennis Jernigan)