• RE: Thoughts...these nagging thoughts

    @eric-Mockaitis said in Thoughts...these nagging thoughts:

    Eric, see below...

    @Mike-Cleveland
    Thank you Mike for the quickness of your reply. Using what I learned for my first time through the course, here is how Isaiah 53 spoke to me.

    Erick, this was absolutely wonderful brother, well done! Read below...

    v. 2 Jesus was limited by inhabiting a body like mine. He wasn't outwardly glorious by mere physical appearance. I could very well pass Him on the street.

    So true. Do you remember the description of the tabernacle that the Israelites carried with them in their journeys? It was drab and simple outside. It was covered with the hides of "sea cows" (Exodus 35:23) as a protective cover for the elements as they traveled in the desert. Nothing in its appearance that anyone would desire it, drab and unattractive.

    But oh Eric, go IN to the tabernacle and it was a DELIGHT to the senses! All the royal blue, purple, and scarlet colors, the incense burning, the table of bread and the gold furniture -- oh my was it ever an amazing experience inside!

    In Jesus' physical appearance there is nothing that would draw anyone. But IN Christ we see Him as "altogether lovely", beautiful and precious! He captures our hearts and amazes us day after day. 1 Peter 1:8-9 (NIV) Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

    Eric, THIS is how we escape the plaguing, incessant thoughts! It is by being overrun and taken up with more powerful thoughts of Jesus, as we "see Him who is invisible".

    Hebrews 11:27 (NIV-WS) By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king's anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.

    We can see Him too, Eric, and the sight of Jesus, the sight of His cross both crushes us and heals us, and it begins to fill our vision!

    v. 3 He was a condemned criminal and I know how I view someone labeled as a condemned criminal. I don't want to waste my time/energy on them. I would even throw my approval in with those who despise Him.

    Amen. There we were in the crowd mocking Him, choosing sin over Christ, casting our vote against Him and for our own flesh.

    Behold the Man upon the cross.
    My sin upon His shoulder.
    Ashamed I hear my mocking voice
    Call out among the scoffers.

    It was my sin that held Him there
    Until it was accomplished.
    His dying breath has brought me life.
    I know that it is finished.

    v. 4 Everything in life (even God) has turned their backs to Him. He just isn't worth anything. Why bother?

    Amen. Don't give Him a passing glance, turn away in disgust and move on.

    Ah, but you see deeper here, right?

    Isaiah 53:4 (NIV-WS) "Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
    yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted."

    He was carrying your pain Eric, bearing your sin and your suffering, receiving your punishment as God afflicted Him in your place. THIS is what you need to see and grasp and meditate on. It might go something like this, "I see Jesus there on the cross, and wow is He ever in pain, having been beaten and hit and struck and pierced. But oh I see, the Bible is telling me that He is taking up MY pain and bearing MY suffering. He is doing this for ME.

    v. 5 But I cannot walk away and totally dismiss what I've seen. Something about His circumstances has a hold of my heart and will not let me go. I see in His ugliness something of beauty. My repulsion is now morphing into a curiosity...then into a desire to draw near Him. He isn't like other men. My preconceived titles do not fit Him. There is something different about this man.

    Amen! Get used to using the actual words of the text, as well. "He was pierced in His hands and feet, and in His side. There He is bleeding out. But why? Oh, I see that He is pierced for my transgressions. I see God is punishing Jesus instead of me, so that as Jesus suffers and dies, I go free!

    Yes, there at the cross Jesus is being crushed! But now I see He is being crushed for my iniquities. The same sin that has been crushing me for so many years was placed on Jesus, and He was crushed for them.

    Now I see that in God punishing Jesus instead of me I have peace with God, for Jesus was "punished for my peace."

    v. 6 I have not relied on anything other than myself, and, therefore, I am ultimately unhappy with where I've ended up. But this Man, He might have something to do with helping me. I want something of His that I cannot achieve on my own, nor can I purchase it, earn it, or run far enough away from it to be freed of it...actually, I don't want to be freed from it, curiously, I want more of it. Now, it as though I actually thirst for it, I'm compelled towards it/Him, I must do everything to have Him.

    Yes Eric, this Man, this God-Man, this Jesus is going to draw you powerfully with the cords of love. He will not let you go. He died for you on the cross, as proof positive that He is going to love you all your life and into eternity. This love, this power of the cross, is going to drive out all other thoughts, the cross being a huge upside down sword that is going to cut them all away from your mind and heart, over time.

    Eric if you would like to, try one more. Just pick any passage and use the actual words of the Scripture to form your thoughts as to how they point to Jesus and the cross. Then meditate long on those images that form in your mind, think deeply about them until your heart is strangely warmed:

    Luke 24:32 (NIV) They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

    posted in Purity
  • Kept Safe in the Arms of Christ

    To all who have been called by God. God the Father loves you, and you have been kept safe in Jesus Christ: Jude 1:1 NCV

    Have you considered how securely you are held in the arms of Jesus?

    I had cause to think on this the other day when there was a tremendous storm in our area with gale-force winds throwing branches around, the windows were shaking, and the electricity was flickering. A large branch fell on a window and I went outside to shift it before it broke through the glass. As I stepped outside, my foot slipped from underneath me on the wet tiles and I started falling back into the window, unable to save myself. All I can recall was crying out to Jesus in fear to help me from certain harm. It was only by His grace, by an act of His love, that I did not crash to the ground and was steadied back onto my feet.

    But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. Psalm 73:2 NIV

    Before we knew Christ, we had certain death and torment before us, held cruelly captive by Satan. We were unable to stop sliding and tripping up in our sin, desperately trying to wrench free of its power and be washed clean of the guilt and shame that weighed down our hearts.

    Although you wash yourself with soap and use an abundance of cleansing powder, the stain of your guilt is still before me,” declares the Sovereign Lord. Jeremiah 2:22 NIV

    But God, in His love, called us and kept us for Jesus Christ from the beginning of time. He laid hold of us by His righteous and steadfast right hand through His dearest Son.

    Jesus, a good man on behalf of sinners (1 Peter 3:18), walked into our darkness at Calvary, taking each hidden and fearful sin from our hearts and placed them in His body. Burdened and slipping with the weight of the wooden beam of the cross on His back, He dragged Himself to the top of the hill at Golgotha and surrendered to each nail of crucifixion. Our sins were fastened through His bleeding flesh to the cross, canceling out our guilt, settling forever the debt on our behalf for our unholiness before His Father.

    Forgiveness was poured from His heart into ours as we knelt in the sacrifice of His scarlet, atoning blood at the foot of the cross, the epicenter of His magnificent victory over sin, death, and Satan. Jesus fixed His loving gaze on each of us in that blessed moment forevermore!

    Do you feel Jesus’ heartbeat of love for you to wrap Himself, as your substitute, in pain and injury and ultimately death so you could be wrapped eternally in the love of God?

    Our ultimate security does not lie in our weak and sometimes slipping grip on Christ, but only on His strong grip of us because of the most stunning moment in history when grace and truth broke into this world through Jesus.

    We now have "an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you" and we are "protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." (1 Peter 1:4-5 NASB) What awesome security is this!

    Yet I am always with you;
    you hold me by my right hand.
    You guide me with your counsel,
    and afterward you will take me into glory.
    Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
    My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever. Psalm 73:23-26 NIV

    posted in Gospel Teachings
  • The Honey Moon Never Ends posted in Gospel Teachings
  • King of Kings

    In the darkness we were waiting
    Without hope without light
    Till from heaven You came running
    There was mercy in Your eyes

    To fulfil the law and prophets
    To a virgin came the Word
    From a throne of endless glory
    To a cradle in the dirt

    Praise the Father
    Praise the Son
    Praise the Spirit three in one
    God of glory
    Majesty
    Praise forever to the King of Kings

    To reveal the kingdom coming
    And to reconcile the lost
    To redeem the whole creation
    You did not despise the cross

    For even in Your suffering
    You saw to the other side
    Knowing this was our salvation
    Jesus for our sake You died

    And the morning that You rose
    All of heaven held its breath
    Till that stone was moved for good
    For the Lamb had conquered death

    And the dead rose from their tombs
    And the angels stood in awe
    For the souls of all who’d come
    To the Father are restored

    And the Church of Christ was born
    Then the Spirit lit the flame
    Now this gospel truth of old
    Shall not kneel shall not faint

    By His blood and in His Name
    In His freedom I am free
    For the love of Jesus Christ
    Who has resurrected me

    posted in Cross Focused Music
  • I Want to Know What Love Is--Foreigner

    I want to know what love is
    I want you to show me
    I want to feel what love is
    I know you can show me

    Yes, every human being wants to know what love is, what it does to us, where to find it and what we should do when we find it. All of these questions of the human heart find their answer directly at the cross of Jesus Christ: "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters" (1 John 3:16).

    Yes, when you want to know what love is, ask Jesus to show you! You'll never find it in pornography, adulterous relationships, food, alcohol, psychotropic drugs, or anything on this earth. But if you take one look at the cross...BAM! There's love! Look! Jesus is laying down His life for you. He's pouring blood from many wounds for you. Why? His death is paying for your sins, removing God's wrath from you and making you right with God. Why? Because He loves you! Yes, I want to know what love is, and Jesus I want you to show me. I want to feel what love is, and I can know it and feel it right at the cross! The cross is an eternal flame!

    Gonna take a little time
    A little time to look around me
    I've got nowhere left to hide
    It looks like love's finally found me

    Adam and Eve tried to hide and cover their sins, but love found them! God came to them in their sin, came to them in their shame, came to them in their hiding, not to kill them but to clothe them. They rebelled against Him, they ran from Him, they were covered with shame, but God put to death a substitute in their place and clothed them with the sacrifice!

    Friend, you have nowhere left to hide! Love is coming for you! And when it finds you life will never be the same. You'll walk around with a fire in your heart, with love oozing from your heart, and you'll love every person you meet. Why? Because Jesus died for you, because Jesus poured out His life unto death for you, and because the Holy Spirit sheds His love all over your heart!

    I want to know what love is! Well then look at the cross and believe!

    posted in Exposition of Gospel Music
  • RE: "We Respond to God not Others"

    Wow.....I never thought about it like this, or maybe I just need this constant reminder. It seems like it comes down to taking our eyes off the person that has hurt us and placing them squarely on the Cross of Jesus and leaving them there. Otherwise, it's utterly impossible to forgive the person that has hurt us nor even desire to do so.

    posted in A United Front
  • "We Respond to God not Others"

    "Now, I hear what you might be saying. 'But this person does not deserve my grace. You don’t know how deeply they’ve hurt me.' As compassionately as I can, I want to tell you: That’s the whole point.
    We didn’t deserve God’s grace when God saved us, either. The bottom line is that the person we choose to forgive may not change when we first show them grace. We didn’t either. I don’t know many people who believed the gospel the first time they heard it. Jesus extended grace to me a long time before I changed. He died for me “while I was still a sinner” (Rom. 5:8).
    In fact, the person you are forgiving might never change. And that’s OK, because forgiveness has a benefit to forgive, too. We get a chance to love like God loves. Even if showing grace never changes those we forgive, it changes us, and that is God’s primary purpose in all that is happening to us in this life. Paul says God is working all things in our lives together toward His good plan of conforming us to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:28–29).
    Ultimately, I am responding to Jesus, not to the person in front of me. The person wronging me may not deserve a response of grace, but the Jesus who bled and died for me does." From "Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary" by J.D. Greear

    posted in A United Front
  • RE: You Have Captivated Christ!

    @Kelly-Dorsey said in You Have Captivated Christ!:

    This seems too good to be true. That Jesus would really see me, this way🙌

    Read and believe, Kelly!

    posted in Gospel Teachings
  • RE: You Have Captivated Christ!

    This seems too good to be true. That Jesus would really see me, this way🙌

    posted in Gospel Teachings
  • RE: Exposition of Man of Sorrows

    Yay! That worked I was able to post to both Groups...really cool!

    posted in Exposition of Gospel Music