What a Day!

“They are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them. Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Revelation 7:15-17, NIV)

Imagine the moment of Jesus’ resurrection,
when the power of the Father crushed death—
we will share in it.

Imagine the full splendor of His glory—
we will share in it.

Imagine when all the universe crowns Him
King of Kings and Lord of Lords—
we will share in it.

Imagine the beauty of His life and love,
spreading, blooming, growing everywhere and forever—
we will share in it.

We will share in all He is.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: In That Morning
Printed Music & Lyrics

The Meaning of the Lord’s Supper

from the devotional book, PICTURES OF GOD

Read Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:17-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

Four times scripture narrates Jesus’ institution of the Lord’s Supper. Please read them all as listed above. As Jesus did this, what was He wanting us to understand? What did He want us to never forget?

  • He Himself is our deliverance, so He redefined how we celebrate our deliverance. The unleavened bread had symbolized the pressured situation in which the Passover deliverance happened. They didn’t have time for the bread to rise. That bread, broken and distributed for their strengthening, was now His own body, broken for them. The wine, with which they celebrated together, was now His own blood, His very life poured out for them.
  • Jesus was acting out the truth He had spoken in John 6: “I am the bread God has sent you from heaven. Eat my flesh and drink my blood, and you will receive eternal life” (see John 6:48-58).
  • The Lord’s Supper symbolized a new covenant. The old covenant demanded our obedience, an obedience we were too weak to give. The new covenant tells us that Christ has bought our redemption and has fulfilled the law. We must simply trust and feast on Him.
  • Remember God’s past deliverance, and it will help you anticipate its completion. You are part of the entire sweep of God’s marvelous work of salvation.
  • Some truths are too important to commit to words alone. In the Lord’s Supper we remember with all our senses. We see, hear, smell, taste, and touch.

The scene is made more poignant by remembering its highly personal nature. Jesus was there with His closest friends, with whom He had lived day and night for three years. In Luke’s account, Jesus expresses His frame of mind this way: “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer” (Luke 22:15, NASB).

John says this: Jesus knowing that His hour had come…having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end [or “to the uttermost”] (John 13:1, NASB).

Jesus had tried to communicate what was about to happen, and they couldn’t grasp it. So He acted it out for them. That first communion was not a formal ceremony. It was friend to friend and face to face.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Lord, from Your Hand
Printed Music & Lyrics

Earthen Vessels

We have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Corinthians 4:7-9, NASB) 

There was given me a thorn in the flesh…I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10, NASB)

Servant of God,
do you want your Lord to use you
heart, soul, mind, and body in His service?
Do you long for Him to glorify Himself through you?

Realize that He will use all of you –
not just your strengths, but your weaknesses,
not just your successes, but your failures,
not just your talents, but your glaring inadequacies,
not just your gains, but your losses,
not just your joys, but your griefs,
not just your health, but your sickness and suffering,
not just your wholeness, but your brokenness,
not just your blessings, but all the injustice and abuse you suffer.

He will show everyone that you are only an earthen vessel
so that the needy glorify,
not you,
but Him.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Glorify Your Name
Printed Music & Lyrics

Give Me the Mind of Christ

John 17:20-23; Philippians 2:1-8

“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us.” (John 17:20-21, NASB) 

If there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 2:1-5, NASB)

Father, I treasure the word of Christ,
constantly guiding and encouraging.
I treasure the comfort provided by Your love,
ministered through Your children.
I treasure sharing in Your Holy Spirit,
who draws all of us together into You.
I treasure Your mercy and Your compassion, which You pour out richly
to us and through us.

Therefore, Father, flush out all my petty pride, and
replace it with the sweet freedom of humility.
Free me from anxious self-seeking and
turn my heart toward the rich blessings of unity.
Too long I have craved a glory that is meaningless and empty of all reality.
Instead, fill my life with the pleasure of sharing Your love.

O Father, give me the mind of Christ!
Give me His Spirit, His heart, His joy!
He gave up far more than I have or am,
and He chose the pleasure of pleasing You.
Even as He faced a brutal and humiliating death,
His heart eagerly embraced You.

That’s what I want, Father.
Give me His mind.
Grow in me the single-minded trust and wholehearted love
of an obedient Son
for His loving Father.
Unite us completely and forever in Jesus Christ!

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Philippians 2:1-8
Printed Music & Lyrics

Our Confidence

from the book, ONE WITH OUR FATHER 

John 5:19, 30; 13:20

“Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. 

“I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” (John 5:19, 30, NASB)

“He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. 

“He who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.” (John 5:23; 13:20, NASB)

When Jesus faced hostility during His earthly ministry,
His confidence was always this:
He was simply representing the Father who sent Him.
He only said what the Father told Him to say, and
only did what the Father showed Him to do.
He was careful to speak and act
only in the Father’s authority.
Thus as people either
received Jesus or
rejected Him,
they were receiving or rejecting the Father.

As His disciples were about to face a hostile world
without Jesus’ physical presence,
He passed along this same truth to them.
Just as Jesus’ confidence in every situation had been
His trusting, obedient relationship with His Father,
so His disciples’ confidence would be
their relationship with Jesus.
That relationship would be their
adequacy for their mission.
As they said what Jesus gave them to say and
did what Jesus showed them to do,
they could face any opposition and any challenge
with bold confidence.
Their preparation for ministry was this:
their intimate binding to Jesus Christ and
their complete dependence on Him.

The same is true for each of us.
Our preparation for life and for service is
our trust in Jesus,
our obedience to Him,
our dependence on Him, and
our moment-by-moment relationship with Him.

As we go to make disciples of Jesus Christ, we go
in His sovereign authority and
in the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit.
We go in the Spirit of Christ Himself,
with His Word and
for His glory.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Lord Jesus, Living Presence
Printed Music & Lyrics

Only in You

Not that we are adequate in ourselves…but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate (2 Corinthians 3:5-6, NASB)

Lord, as I face the work You have called me to do,
help me to live by this truth hour by hour.

I have no competence of my own.
Without you,
I am blind.
I am inconsistent.
I lack wisdom.

You said,
“I am the vine, you are the branches;
he who abides in Me and I in him,
he bears much fruit,
for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5, NASB).

All my competence is in You.
I turn to You.
I depend on You, and
I trust You now.

in You and You alone
I am adequate for this task.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Fruitful in You
Printed Music & Lyrics

Daily Forgiveness

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9, NASB)

Our Father in heaven,…forgive us our debts. (Matthew 6:9, 12, NASB)

Father, You know my heart.
You know that I want to live and breathe as Your child.
I want to be one with You every moment and in every way.
I long to walk in total obedience to Your perfect and loving will.

But You also know how I live day by day.
My responses to You are so sporadic and cool.
I want to live a loving life constantly and completely,
but I shrink back into myself so often and so easily.
As I trust You, You always enable me to live a holy life in Your presence.
You are so faithful!
But how often I fail to trust You as You deserve!
Faith is still a response that is only partially formed in me.

The closer I grow to You, the more I am aware of the
magnitude and constancy of my failures before You.
You deserve so much better than me!

But Your grace is perfect, even though my behavior is not.
Your forgiveness is free for the asking!
Though my shortcomings are a never ending stream,
Your mercies are new every morning.

I count on Your forgiveness, Father,
but help me never take it for granted.
Give me a growing openness with You.
Give me a constant awareness of
who You are and
who I am.
May confession be an ongoing process between us,
a daily healing,
a regular realigning,
a natural part of our unbroken communion.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Daily Confession
Printed Music & Lyrics

TRANSCENDENT GOD Devotional Tapestry

TRANSCENDENT GOD Devotional Tapestry

Devotional Tapestries are short recordings designed to draw your heart and mind to the Living God. Each includes a devotional reading over instrumental music, leading into a hymn.

Listen to TRANSCENDENT GOD Devotional Tapestry.

Printed devotional & hymn
More Devotional Tapestries

Only for the Lord

If we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. (Romans 14:8, NASB)

Though I have never been a pastor, I know God called me to full-time Christian service. He has led, prepared, and commissioned me. He has given me a burning desire to communicate His truth in a way that is fresh and penetrating, yet practical.

As a result, I’ve spent my entire adult life employed by Christian organizations. I consider that a great privilege and joy. But that doesn’t mean all has been sweetness and light. My bosses have been thoroughly human. My jobs have been filled with stress, frustration, and unending setbacks. I have been unappreciated and treated unfairly. Often I have felt my employers were not worthy of the dedication I was giving. Many times I have feared that in the end, my efforts would prove meaningless.

Because of all this, I have reminded myself of the following over and over again throughout my working life:

I do not work for my bosses.
I do not work for the company.
I do not even work for the church.
I work for the Lord.

Do my bosses seem unfair and misguided? I do not work for them. I work for the Lord. Does my pay seem far less than I deserve? I work for the Lord. He provides abundantly for me, and I owe Him everything. Does my work seem trivial and meaningless? The Lord of the universe has called me to do it, and He feels it’s important. My work is a personal “Thank You!” to Him. I trust that He will bless it as a seed and make it fruitful.

During my frustrations I can lift myself and my job to Him. I can release them to Him knowing He has put me here. It is His work, and He is here with me. Such prayer helps me look in a different direction. It turns my heart away from my selfish interests and toward His purpose and glory. Doing the work then becomes a prayer in itself, a way of acting out my trust and love for Him.

No matter what your present job, use it to serve your Lord joyfully. Bring your work to Him, and do it for Him. He is a wonderful employer!

Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.
(Colossians 3:23, NASB) 

Listen and sing:
Hymn: I’ll Sing of You
Printed Music & Lyrics

Teach Me to Pray

Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.
(Luke 6:12, NIV)

Jesus, You prayed so much when You were here on earth.
At times You ministered to people through the day,
then prayed through the night.

How did You do it, Lord?

For You, was prayer work,
or was it rest?
Did You need to rest from praying,
or was prayer itself a type of rest?

For me, should prayer be labor,
an activity requiring energy and discipline,
an obligation to be endured?
Or should it be rest,
a retreat into You?

If I trusted the Father as You did and
relied on Him completely,
then what would prayer be for me?

Jesus, my Savior,
You are my example.
Teach me to pray.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Teach Us to Pray
Printed Music & Lyrics