Need You Now

“And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty [2 Cor. 3:17];

which may be understood of the third person in the Godhead;

where he is as a spirit of illumination, there is freedom from former blindness and darkness;

where he is as a spirit of regeneration and sanctification, there is freedom from the bondage of sin, and captivity of Satan;

where he is as a comforter, there is freedom from the fear of hell, wrath, and damnation:

where he is as a spirit of adoption, there is the freedom of children with a father;

where he is as a spirit of prayer and supplication, there is liberty of access to God with boldness, …" Gills’s Exposition of the Entire Bible 

For those times when we struggle to put words to paper:

"Music is what feelings sound like." (Unknown)

For anyone seeking freedom, this song is for you:

Need You Now

Well, everybody's got a story to tell
And everybody's got a wound to be healed
I want to believe there's beauty here
'Cause oh, I get so tired of holding on
I can't let go, I can't move on
I want to believe there's meaning here

How many times have you heard me cry out
"God please take this?"
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now

Standing on a road I didn't plan
Wondering how I got to where I am
I'm trying to hear that still small voice
I'm trying to hear above the noise

How many times have you heard me cry out
"God please take this?"
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now

Though I walk,
Though I walk through the shadows
And I, I am so afraid
Please stay, please stay right beside me
With every single step I take

How many times have you heard me cry out?
And how many times have you given me strength?

How many times have you heard me cry out
"God please take this?"
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now

I need you now
Oh I need you
God, I need you now
I need you now
I need you now

Jesus Stills The Storm

As is most of America, I have been mourning the loss and destruction in Oklahoma this week. It is always easier to relate to an area that you are familiar with, and I traveled to this city once a week for treatments not too long ago.

I grew up smack dab in the middle of tornado alley. As soon as spring begins, you can almost feel them coming. Some of my most vivid childhood memories are attached to violent, tornado-producing thunderstorms.

Last year around this time we had a massive storm. They had actually been talking about this one for days in advance, which was unusual. The morning of the day it was supposed to hit our county I felt a strong calling to pray for that storm to break up and not hit our area. 

A tornado did hit our city that night, not far from where we live. And the aftermath of the tornado did some pretty terrific damage to areas very close to us. Thankfully, our home and cars were not damaged. But it was a very close call.

This last Sunday we had another big storm. I did not have as much warning about this one, and I was not feeling very well that day. The sirens went off and I called and made sure my daughter knew what to do to protect herself because she was directly in the path of the storm coming toward us.

As I proceeded to prepare to leave for the community shelter, I was praying similar to how I prayed last year. I was watching the storm on the radar and I could see how big it was. There was a tornado coming right at us.

I was waiting for God to warn me that it was time to go to shelter as He always does. He never did. This time as the storm approached, I felt compelled to stand still and pray. I remembered the story of Jesus in Mark 4:35-38 (Webster Bible):

“And the same day, when the evening was come, he saith to them, Let us pass over to the other side. And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the boat. And there were also with him other small boats.

And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the boat, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say to him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? “

I did not rebuke the winds, or the storm. I stood still, and believing that Christ lives in me, I asked Him to push it back, to break it up. And He did. Our home and our cars were unscathed even though neighborhoods right next to ours were hit with torrential wind and hail.

Am I suggesting that I am responsible for any of this? No. I may never know for sure what happened when I prayed. As I realize more the truth that “it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me”, I find my faith growing (Galatians 2:20). We have the same power living inside of us that raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 8:11).

Whatever storm heads your way, if you are a child of God you have the right to believe that He can still your storm. Whether it is a tornado, a hurricane, an earthquake, cancer, a divorce, or any number of things. Jesus still silences storms.

And if He does not silence it, then you know He has a purpose for it. I do not know if I will ever stand up to a tornado again without taking shelter. But I am thankful that He has given me the faith to stand against any storm in my life. Not in my strength, but in His:

“And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, peace, be still: and the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said to them, why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, what manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” Mark 4:39-41, Webster Bible


Surrender To Jesus

Since I began my study of the cross of Christ, my life has changed. My physical body, my soul-life (mind/will/emotions), and even my spirit are stronger and more aligned with the promises of God. 

Unfortunately, in the same proportion to my new-found freedom and strength, I am also facing a blockage of some sort in my body in relation to the cancer that has made my bad days worse.

So much so that I was tempted to begin questioning how God would see me through this obstacle. While I was having a particularly hard time the other night, I was trying to grasp what Oswald Chambers was teaching in his devotional My Utmost for His Highest. You can read the whole thing here.

This is an excerpt from the reading:

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me . . .” —Galatians 2:20

These words mean the breaking and collapse of my independence brought about by my own hands, and the surrendering of my life to the supremacy of the Lord Jesus. No one can do this for me, I must do it myself.

God may bring me up to this point three hundred and sixty-five times a year, but He cannot push me through it. It means breaking the hard outer layer of my individual independence from God, and the liberating of myself and my nature into oneness with Him; not following my own ideas, but choosing absolute loyalty to Jesus.

Once I am at that point, there is no possibility of misunderstanding. Very few of us know anything about loyalty to Christ or understand what He meant when He said, “. . . for My sake” (Matthew 5:11). That is what makes a strong saint.

I was in so much pain that I could hardly concentrate but the words that echoed the most in the writing were in the statement that followed: “I must be broken from my own understanding of myself.”

So that is where I am. Trusting Him to be my understanding. Continuing my study of the cross, and excited about all He is doing in my life.

The new blog project has turned into a challenge, but it feels like God has given me a fresh canvas and I am somehow painting a vision for the future.

Maybe some of you are being liberated of yourself as you learn to trust Him with your giants.

Here is how Oswald continues his teaching on Galatians 2:20:

Has that breaking of my independence come? All the rest is religious fraud. The one point to decide is— will I give up? Will I surrender to Jesus Christ, placing no conditions whatsoever as to how the brokenness will come?

I must be broken from my own understanding of myself. When I reach that point, immediately the reality of the supernatural identification with Jesus Christ takes place. And the witness of the Spirit of God is unmistakable— “I have been crucified with Christ . . . .”


The Last Beatitude

Today’s Bible’s study amazed me.

I was prepared to continue with the study of 1 Peter, Chapter 1. For reasons known only to God Himself, I have been on the brink of this chapter for several weeks now. I am surprised at the number of commentaries that are relevant to my study in this particular chapter.

However, when I was finishing my research for what I thought was today’s lesson, I came across something astonishing: a final Beatitude. It never occurred to me that there could be such a thing.

How fitting that there is a conclusion; one that ties my study of the Beatitudes to the Precious Blood of The Lamb.

The Bible study God led me to write this past year will forever be my chariot. The Encarta Reference describes a chariot as a horse-drawn vehicle, used in ancient times in races, warfare, or processions. My dream is to see it become a chariot for others as well.

The following text is from The Last Beatitude of the Ascended Christ, by A. Maclaren, D. D. — Biblical Illustrator, on Revelation 22:14.

The Revised Version reads: "Blessed are they that wash their robes, that they may have the right to come to the tree of life." There can be no doubt whatever that this reading is the correct one. "Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they might have right to the tree of life," carries us back to the old law, and has no more hopeful a sound in it than the thunders of Sinai.

"Blessed are they that wash their robes, that they may have right to the tree of life," has the clear ring of the New Testament music about it, and is in full accord with the whole type of doctrine that runs through this book; and is not unworthy to be almost the last word that the lips of the Incarnate Wisdom spoke to men from heaven.

I. IF WE ARE CLEAN IT IS BECAUSE WE HAVE BEEN MADE SO. The first benediction that Jesus Christ spoke from the mountain was, "Blessed are the poor in spirit." The last benediction that He speaks from heaven is, "Blessed are they that wash their robes."

And the act commended in the last is but the outcome of the spirit extolled in the first. For they who are poor in spirit are such as know themselves to be sinful men; and those who know themselves to be sinful men are they who will cleanse their robes in the blood of Jesus Christ.

II. THESE CLEANSED ONES, AND BY IMPLICATION THESE ONLY, HAVE UNRESTRAINED ACCESS TO THE SOURCE OF LIFE. The tree of life stands as the symbol here of an external source. I take "life" to be used here in what I believe to be its predominant New Testament meaning, not bare continuance in existence, but a full ideal perfection and activity of all the faculties and possibilities of the man, which this very apostle himself identifies with the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ.

And that life, says John, has an external source in heaven as on earth. And the source is "the tree of life." They that wash their robes have the right of unrestrained access to Him in whose presence, in that loftier state, no impurity can live.

The tree of life, according to some of the old Rabbinical legends, the tree of life lifted its branches, by an indwelling motion, high above impure hands that were stretched to touch them, and until our hands are cleansed through faith in Jesus Christ, its richest fruit hangs unreachable, golden, above our heads.

Oh, the fulness of the life of heaven is only granted to them who, drawing near Jesus Christ by faith on earth, have thereby cleansed themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit.

III. THOSE WHO ARE CLEANSED, AND THEY ONLY, HAVE THE ENTRANCE INTO THE SOCIETY OF THE CITY. The city is the emblem of security and of permanence. No more shall life be as a desert march, with changes which only bring sorrow, and yet a dreary monotony amidst them all. We shall dwell amid abiding realities, ourselves fixed in unchanging but ever-growing completeness and peace.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)