Nov 11, 2012
Song written by Mike Weaver of Big Daddy Weave and Benji Cowart
Performed by Benji Cowart and The Vintage Band
Seems like all I can see was the struggle
Haunted by ghosts that lived in my past
Bound up in shackles of all my failures
Wondering how long is this gonna last
You look at this prisoner and say to me “son
stop fighting a fight that’s already been won”
I am redeemed, You set me free
So I will shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain
I’m not who I used to be
I am redeemed
All my life I have been called unworthy
Named by the voice of my shame and regret
But when I hear You whisper, “Child lift up your head”
I remember oh God, You’re not done with me yet
I don’t have to be the old man inside of me
Cause his day is long dead and gone
I’ve got a new name, a new life; I am not the same
And a hope that will carry me home
(Music & Lyrics: Mike Weaver / Benji Cowart)
…who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree… —1 Peter 2:24
The Cross of Christ is the revealed truth of God’s judgment on sin. Never associate the idea of martyrdom with the Cross of Christ. It was the supreme triumph, and it shook the very foundations of hell. There is nothing in time or eternity more absolutely certain and irrefutable than what Jesus Christ accomplished on the Cross— He made it possible for the entire human race to be brought back into a right-standing relationship with God. He made redemption the foundation of human life; that is, He made a way for every person to have fellowship with God.
The Cross was not something that happened to Jesus— He came to die; the Cross was His purpose in coming. He is “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8). The incarnation of Christ would have no meaning without the Cross. Beware of separating “God was manifested in the flesh…” from “…He made Him…to be sin for us…” (1 Timothy 3:16 ; 2 Corinthians 5:21). The purpose of the incarnation was redemption. God came in the flesh to take sin away, not to accomplish something for Himself. The Cross is the central event in time and eternity, and the answer to all the problems of both.
The Cross is not the cross of a man, but the Cross of God, and it can never be fully comprehended through human experience. The Cross is God exhibiting His nature. It is the gate through which any and every individual can enter into oneness with God. But it is not a gate we pass right through; it is one where we abide in the life that is found there.
The heart of salvation is the Cross of Christ. The reason salvation is so easy to obtain is that it cost God so much. The Cross was the place where God and sinful man merged with a tremendous collision and where the way to life was opened. But all the cost and pain of the collision was absorbed by the heart of God.
Jesus Christ can afford to be misunderstood; we cannot. Our weakness lies in always wanting to vindicate ourselves. The Place of Help, 1051 L
Storms are inevitable. In nature, powerful tempests leave a changed landscape behind them. Similarly, challenging circumstances can alter the direction of our life.
When difficulties arise, do you say to the Lord, “I am doing what You asked, so why is this happening?” Such thinking assumes that being in the center of God’s will exempts us from problems. In Matthew 14, we learn that Jesus instructed the disciples to get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the opposite shore. While they were obeying Him, high winds and waves developed. The truth is, storms can arise even when we are exactly where God wants us to be (John 16:33).
Another question we sometimes ask is, “Father, what have I done wrong?” Many of us automatically assume that we are a large part of the problem. God does use trials to correct us, but not all situations come from our mistakes. He may allow troubles to perfect us—that is, to mature us and grow us into Christ’s likeness. That was the case with the disciples. Jesus knew what lay ahead for them, and He desired to make them fit for the work He was calling them to do. The lashing winds created an environment conducive to learning key lessons for future ministry.
God uses all different ways to train and equip us, because He wants us to become strong, vital servants of the Lord Jesus Christ. Realize that nothing can happen to a child of God unless He allows it. Instead of keeping our heads bent low against the struggles of life, let’s look up to the Lord and seek His purposes in our challenges.
“Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.” (Philippians 1:27)
The Greek word translated “conversation” emphasizes “citizenship,” with all of its attendant loyalties and expectations for appropriate behavior. The structure of the introductory word “only” indicates that it is an adjective, not an adverb. Thus, the opening phrase could be rendered, “Your only citizenship must be lived out so that it becomes the gospel.”
The New Testament employs three different Greek terms that are translated “conversation.” Anastrepho is best understood as “dwelling” or “remaining” in a certain place: “Put off concerning the former conversation,” we are commanded in Ephesians 4:22. Tropos stresses the manner of life, perhaps implying the reputation one gains by the lifestyle: “Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example” (Jude 1:7). Politeuo, the term used by Paul in our text, conveys citizenship: “For our conversation is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20, politeuma). The emphasis of our text is on our lifestyle and testimony as “ambassadors” in a foreign land (2 Corinthians 5:20). As such, we are to live in a manner that “becometh” the gospel—“that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called” (Ephesians 4:1).
We are to stand fast in a unity of one spirit with one mind. Paul closed his letter to the Philippians with this: “Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved” (Philippians 4:1). HMM III
It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in. —Isaiah 40:22
I don’t know where heaven is. I read that the people in the space program shot a goldplated arrow sixty-some thousand miles into the air, and some are wondering if it might not be reaching heaven at last. I have to smile at that, because God does not dwell in space; space is nothing to God. The great infinite heart of God gathers up into Himself all space.
Our space program is like a baby playing with a rubber ball in Wrigley Field. He can’t do anything but bat it around and crawl after it. If he bats it away two feet, he squeals with delight as if he hit a home run. But way out there, 400 feet long, stretches the field. It takes a strong man to knock a ball over the fence.
When man sends up his little arrow, and it reaches the moon and goes into orbit round it, he boasts about it for years to come. Go on, little boy, play with your rubber ball. But the great God who carries the universe in His heart smiles. He is not impressed. He is calling mankind to Himself, to His holiness, beauty, love, mercy and goodness. He has come to reconcile us and call us back.
It’s so easy, Lord, for us to think too highly of our worldly intellect. Help me to see You anew in all Your glory, that I might see my comparative smallness and my need for You. Amen.
Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. (Matthew 28:18)
Let us be confident, Christian brethren, that our power does not lie in the manger at Bethlehem nor in the relics of the Cross. True spiritual power resides in the victory of the mighty, resurrected Lord of glory, who could pronounce after spoiling death: “All power is given me in heaven and in earth.”
The power of the Christian believer lies in the Savior’s triumph of eternal glory! Christ’s resurrection brought about a startling change of direction for the believers.
Sadness and fear and mourning marked the direction of their religion before they knew that Jesus was raised from the dead—their direction was towards the grave. When they heard the angelic witness, “He is risen, as He said,” the direction immediately shifted away from the tomb—”He is risen, indeed!” If this is not the meaning of Easter, the Christian church is involved only in a shallow one-day festival each year.
Thankfully, the resurrection morning was only the beginning of a great, vast outreach that has never ended—and will not end until our Lord Jesus Christ comes back again!
By the sweet drawing of the Spirit, the sinner finds “a peace with God which passeth all understanding, which keeps his heart and mind through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Now, you will plainly perceive that all this may be done without any compulsion. Man is as much
drawn willingly, as if he were not drawn at all; and he comes to Christ with full consent, with as full a consent as if no secret influence had ever been exercised in his heart. But that influence must be exercised, or else there never has been and there never will be, any man who either can or will come to the Lord Jesus Christ