Poetry Saturday—In Christ

In Christ I feel the heart of God. 
Throbbing from heaven through earth: 
Life stirs again within the clod. 
Renewed in beauteous birth. 
The soul springs up, a flower of prayer, 
Breathing his breath out on the air. 

In Christ I touch the hand of God, 
From His pure height reached down, 
By blessed ways before untrod, 
To lift us to our crown;—
Victory that only perfect is 
Through loving sacrifice, like His. 

Holding His hand, my steadied feet 
May walk the air, the seas; 
On life and death His smile falls sweet,—
Lights up all mysteries: 
Stranger nor exile can I be 
In new worlds where He leadeth me. 

Not my Christ only: He is ours; 
Humanity’s close bond; 
Key to its vast unopened powers, 
Dream of our dreams beyond.—
What yet we shall be, none can tell; 
Now are we His, and all is well. —Lucy Larcom

Thursdays With Oswald—Life-Altering Regeneration

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Life-Altering Regeneration 

     Personality merges, and you only get your real identity when you are merged with another person. A man has his individuality transfigured when he falls in love. When love or the Spirit of God strikes a man or woman, they are transformed, they no longer insist on their separate individuality. Christianity is personal, therefore it is un-individual. … Our Lord never spoke in terms of individuality…but in terms of personality, “that they all may be one.” … 

     We are much more than we are conscious of being. Our Lord said the Holy Spirit would bring back into our conscious mind the things He had said. We never forget anything although often we cannot recall it; we hear it and it goes into the unconscious mind. Things go on in our unconscious minds that we know nothing about, and at any second they may burst up into our conscious life and perturb us. The Spirit of God enters into a man below the threshold of his consciousness. When He will emerge into a man’s conscious mind no one can say; when He does, there is an earthquake, and the man has to readjust his life in every particular. The Spirit of God entering into the spirit of a man brings a totally new relationship to things. … 

     If all Jesus can do is to tell me that I must be holy, be what I never can be, present me with an ideal I cannot come anywhere near, His teaching plants despair; He is nothing more than a tantalizer and I wish He had never come. But if He is a Regenerator, One who first of all can put into me His own heredity, then I see what He is driving at in the Sermon on the Mount—that the disposition He puts in is like His own. … 

     The Spirit of Christ comes into me by regeneration, then I have to begin to form the mind of Christ, begin to look at things from a different standpoint.

From The Shadow Of An Agony

Our Heavenly Father will never force His love on us. Jesus Christ will never make us receive Him. The Holy Spirit will never change us against our will.

But our Heavenly Father will direct our lives to bring us to our wits’ end. Jesus Christ will constantly woo us with His love. And the Holy Spirit will continually bring to our conscious mind all that Jesus says to us.

The choice is mine—Will I continue to live my life my way, or will I yield to the life-altering regeneration that the the Father, Son and Spirit lovingly offer to me?

Thursdays With Oswald—What Prayer Does In Us

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

What Prayer Does In Us

     Prayer is the point where the reality of God merges with human life. Until we are born from above, prayer with us is honestly nothing more than a mere exercise; but in all our Lord’s teaching and in His own personal life, as well as in the emphasis laid on prayer by the Holy Ghost after He had gone, prayer is regarded as the work (see John 14:11-13). … 

     If prayer is the highest reach of communion possible between Almighty God and the Son of Man, what part ought prayer to play in our lives? … 

     Prayer is not meant to develop us, but to develop the life of God in us after new birth.

From The Psychology Of Redemption

In another lesson, Chambers reminds us that prayer is easy for us because it cost Jesus so much to make it possible for us.

Jesus knew the value of prayer, which is why it was an essential priority all throughout His earthly life. Now we have access to the same Almighty God through the name of Jesus. Yes, Jesus is interceding for us, but we don’t have to stop there—we should never stop there!—because Christ’s death and resurrection makes a way for us to go right into Almighty God’s presence.

Prayer is powerful! Prayer brings the life of God right down into our own souls.

So… what part ought prayer to play in your life?

Now What?

Easter is over. Some people may have come to a church yesterday and may have even stepped into a relationship with the Risen Savior Jesus Christ. Wow, what a day!

Now what?

Is it back to church as usual?

What’s different because Jesus arose?

More specifically, what’s different about my life because I encountered Christ?

I don’t think Jesus suffered, died, and arose from the grave so we could maintain the status quo … or so that we could return to our normal humdrum lives … or so that church could become ‘the usual weekend routine.’

Dorothy Sayers said it this way —

To do them justice, the people who crucified Jesus did not do so because He was a bore. Quite the contrary; He was too dynamic to be safe. It has been left for later generations to muffle up that shattering personality and surround Him with an atmosphere of tedium. We have declawed the Lion of Judah and made Him a housecat for pale priests and pious old ladies.

Although Easter is over, I pray my life with Christ is never tedious … never boring … never predictable … never as tame as a housecat.

I want to know and see firsthand in my life that the Lion of Judah is not safe, but that He is good (thanks to C.S. Lewis for that wording)!

Jesus conquered death so that you and I could really live. Don’t ever settle for the boring, humdrum, usual routine. Discover the exciting life Jesus has for you!

Conjunction Junction: BUT

Do you remember the School House Rocks videos? Fun and yet so educational! One of my favorite ones is called “Conjunction Junction.”

Conjunctions are very powerful connectors. Especially when I’m reading the Bible I slow down when I see and, or, or but. These conjunctions can open up a wealth of Scriptural knowledge.

Another thing that stands out to me when I’m reading God’s Word is the (parentheses). Little sidebars that can add so much richness. Today I saw a parenthetical comment followed by one of these powerful conjunctions.

Here’s the parenthetical comment: (There was never a man like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the LORD, urged on by Jezebel his wife. He behaved in the vilest manner by going after idols, like the Amorites the LORD drove out before Israel) (1 Kings 21:25-26).

Ahab is not just evil—he’s not just bad—he’s the evilest, worst king… ever!

BUT = not one thing, but an entirely different thing.

But Ahab—the evilest king ever—humbled himself before God: “Have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before Me? Because he has humbled himself, I will not bring this disaster in his day, BUT I will bring it on his house in the days of his son” (v. 29).

I’m so glad God recognizes our humility and then extends His mercy. BUT is a great conjunction! Check out these passages with BUT

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. BUT you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. BUT for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display His unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on Him and receive eternal life. (1 Timothy 1:15-16)

It doesn’t matter if you were the vilest, meanest, worst-person-ever, when you humble yourself to ask for God’s forgiveness, He pronounces that great conjunctionBUTthat completely cancels your past!!

Wow! What a merciful, loving God! And what a great conjunction He inserts in our lives—BUT!

I’m happy today that I’ve been to God’s Conjunction Junction and He’s hooked a BUT between my former life and my present life. How about you?

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