TODAY #10–Just as if…

I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, declares the Lord GOD.  Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin….I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord GOD; so turn, and live.–Nothing in all creation can hide from him.  Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes.  This is the God to whom we must explain all that we have done.  That is why we have a great High Priest who has gone to heaven, Jesus the Son of God.  Let us cling to him and never stop trusting him.–For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law…the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.–For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.–for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.–if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.–God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.–Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

Ezek.18:30,32ESV; Heb.4:13,14NLT British text; Rom.3:20-22ESV; Rom.10:4ESV; Mt.12:37ESV; Rom.10:9ESV; Rom.3:24NLT; I Tim.6:12ESV; Ps.32:1,2

Incredible this reality in which we are called to stand as those who claim Christ as our King. He has done all.  We appear before God just as if we had never sinned.  The fight is to continue to believe when sin dogs our steps and condemnation flutters in to find a place to roost.  We need only run back to rest under the shadow of the Cross.  There our sins, past-present-and future, were nailed.  God declares us righteous on this basis and this basis alone. –LS

Listen in on these lyrics till your heart resounds with them:

Let no one caught in sin remain
Inside the lie of inward shame
We fix our eyes upon the cross
And run to Him who showed great love

And bled for us
Freely You’ve bled for us

Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave

(Christ is risen: Matt Maher / Mia Fieldes)

TODAY #9–Thank-you for the Cross, my Friend

I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake… And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.–But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.  If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Therefore…let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross–so also Christ died only once as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people.  He will come again but not to deal with our sins again.  This time he will bring salvation to all those who are eagerly waiting for him.

I Jn.2:12,28 ESV; I Jn.1:7-9ESV; Heb.12:1,2ESV; Heb.9:28 NLT British ed.

“Thank-you for the Cross, my Friend”–I sang the words lately with a fresh jolt that this One who came to die on my account is now my Friend.  He died for this, accomplishing all that was needful to deal with my sin-debt, awaiting only my faith in His sufficient sacrifice.  No longer is my sin held against me no matter how poor my current track-record on this journey to glory.  By faith I can count Him my friend and not wither under His gaze as with increasing age I am made more and more aware of my decrepit human nature.  He is not my Friend because I am so worthy of His friendship.  Our relationship is based on my reliance on His worth, His sacrifice of Himself on my behalf, and His resurrection. 

Though sin’s deadly power is broken it still tries to trip me up, and in its wake I’m tempted to shrink back in shame and doubt Jesus’ friendly gaze.  But sin deceives from start to finish. It is never so potent that confession will not banish its shame.  And so I look to the Cross and live! –LS


TODAY #8–Our Shepherd was Himself a Lamb…

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all—John looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”—For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins…”You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings…Behold, I have come to do your will”…And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all—like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.  By oppression and judgment he was taken away… stricken for the transgression of my people.

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep—So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep…If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture”.

For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!
For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.

Is.53:6; Jn. 1:36; Heb 10:4, 8-10; Is. 53:6-8; Jn. 10:11,7,9; I Pet. 2:25; Ps. 95:6-7 ESV

I’ve been confronted again this week with the brutal realities of the crucifixion in Lee Strobel’s concise: “The Case for Easter,” a journalistic investigation of the evidence for the Resurrection.  Such an extreme display of cruelty only underlines the extent of man’s need for a Saviour.  That He died extending forgiveness to His persecutors further demonstrates the gulf between man and God.  And yet Jesus was willing to become as we are, a lamb, to lead us back to God.  Oh what happy sheep we have reason to be!   –LS







TODAY #7–Life-giving Words

As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me…When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?”…But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this?…Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life”

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.–The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.– Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.

Jn.6:57,60-61,68; II Tim.4:3,4; II Thess.2:9-10; II Tim.3:16-17; Phil.2:14-16ESV

Jesus loves me, this I know.  May my heart believe it’s so, and always be receptive to His words, ready to agree: ‘Yes, You are right. I’ve been mistaken or confused or slow to understand, but I know that You are right.’  Deliver me from deception, unbelief and a stubborn resistance to truth as You reveal it in Your Word.  Grant that I may perceive Your words as life-giving replacements for my wrong-headed thinking and always hold them fast by faith. –LS

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Gal.2:20ESV)



TODAY #6–Getting to Know Jesus is everything!

As we know Jesus better, his divine power gives us everything we need for living a godly life.— He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power—He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation…all things were created through him and for him.—In whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.—Let the words of Christ, in all their richness live in your hearts and make you wise.

Jesus: “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who I am, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”—For it has pleased God to tell his people that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too—Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him,  rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.—You have clothed yourselves with a brand new nature that is continually being renewed as you learn more and more about Christ, who created this new nature within you.

And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him.  May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvellous love—May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.

II Pet.1:3 NLT*;Heb 1:3 ESV; Col 1:15-16 ESV; Col 2:3 ESV; Col.3:16 NLT*; Jn.4:10 NLT*; Col.1:27NLT*; Col 2:, 6-7 ESV; Col.3:10 NLT*; Eph.3:17 NLT*;Eph 3:19 NLT; Phil3:8 NLT*      *British text

I am reading in the Gospels these days, reading and meditating on Jesus and His words to various people.  Not all responded the same way.  Some believed everything He said. These begged Him to stay and tell them more.  Others recognized Jesus’ power but pleaded with Him to go away and leave them alone!  Still others, the ones most assured of their goodness and sufficiency, only engaged Jesus in conversation in order to trap Him into saying something for which they might crucify Him.  What is my  heart saying as I listen to Jesus’ words?  Is knowing Him what I want above all else? –LS