January 23, 2018

In Christ Alone

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

In Christ alone my hope is found; He is my Light, my Strength, my Song;
This Cornerstone, this solid ground, firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace, when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my all in all—here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, Who took on flesh, Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness, scorned by the ones He came to save.
‘Til on that Cross as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev’ry sin on Him was laid—here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay, Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory, sin’s curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—this is the pow’r of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man can ever pluck me from His hand;
‘Til He returns or calls me home—here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand.

Keith and Krystin Getty and Band
written by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend

*  ~  ♥  ~  ✞  ~  ♥  ~  *

The words of a song can be so stirring!  For myself, I have found hymns to have this effect on me.  A choir director once told me that hymns are songs that “are soaked in doctrinal truth.”  One definition of hymns says that they are “… songs that help teach faith.”  What we sing through this type of song can profoundly affect how we think and feel.  And each of us have our own favorite hymns and choruses…they come to mean so much to our hearts!  This song, In Christ Alone, is considered a modern-day hymn. It contains such foundational truth.

Take for example, the very first three words of this song, “In Christ alone…” You could say them in other ways, too—‘only Jesus…’ ‘Jesus is everything to me…’ ‘You, Lord, JUST You…’

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth,
visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities;
all things have been created through Him and for Him.
He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
And He is the head of the body, the church;
He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead,
so that in everything He might have the supremacy.
Colossians 1:15-18

In and through Jesus we have been given so very much!  He truly is our ‘Light… (John 8:12), our Strength… (Psalms 28:7 and 8), our Cornerstone (1 Peter 2:5 and 6)!’

I just love to sing these next lines of this song; they are so beautiful!

What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!

My Comforter, my All in All, here in the love of Christ I stand.

Through Jesus, also, we have love (Romans 8:38 and 39), peace (Philippians 4:7), comfort (Psalm 46:10)!  He IS our ‘All in All.’

And when all things shall be subdued unto him,
then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him
that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
1 Corinthians 15:28

In Jesus our hope, our trust, our constant assurance is in the right place—on the solid foundation of who we are in Christ.  In my own life I seem to need continual reminding  to not let my feelings get in the way or my circumstances be allowed to dictate my actions.  But, as we (I!) stand firmly on the unchangeable truths of the gospel of Christ, our (my!) faith is being continuously built.

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul,
a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil,
where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us….
Hebrews 6:19 and 20

*  ~  ♥  ~  ✞  ~  ♥  ~  *

How about you?  Do the words of this beautiful hymn evoke a response in your heart when you hear them?  (I would so LOVE to ‘hear’ your answer in the comments below.)

In Christ Alone

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

 ~  Listen while you read, please!  ~

In Christ alone my hope is found; He is my Light, my Strength, my Song;
This Cornerstone, this solid ground, firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace, when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my all in all—here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, Who took on flesh, Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness, scorned by the ones He came to save.
‘Til on that Cross as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev’ry sin on Him was laid—here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay, Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory, sin’s curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—this is the pow’r of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man can ever pluck me from His hand;
‘Til He returns or calls me home—here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand.

 

~  In Christ Alone; words and music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend  ~

 *   *   *   *   *

The words of a song can be so stirring!  Particularly, I have found hymns to have this effect on me.  A choir director once told me that hymns are songs that “are soaked in doctrinal truth.”  One definition of hymns says that they are “… songs that help teach faith.”  What we sing through this type of song can profoundly affect how we think and feel.  And each of us have our own favorite hymns and choruses…they come to mean so much to our hearts!  This song, In Christ Alone, is considered a modern-day hymn. It contains such foundational truth.

For example, the very first three words of this song, “In Christ alone…” You could say them in other ways, too—‘only Jesus…’ ‘Jesus is everything to me…’ ‘You, Lord, JUST You…’

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth,
visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities;
all things have been created through Him and for Him.
He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
And He is the head of the body, the church;
He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead,
so that in everything He might have the supremacy.
Colossians 1:15-18

In and through Jesus we have been given so very much! He truly is our ‘Light… (John 8:12), our Strength… (Psalms 28:7 and 8), our Cornerstone (1 Peter 2:5 and 6)!’

I just love to sing these next lines of this song; they are so beautiful!

What heights of love, what depths of peace, when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All, here in the love of Christ I stand.

Through Jesus, also, we have love (Romans 8:38 and 39), peace (Philippians 4:7), comfort (Psalm 46:10), and joy (John 15:11)! He IS our ‘all in all.’

And when all things shall be subdued unto him,
then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him
that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
1 Corinthians 15:28

In Jesus our hope, our trust, our constant assurance is in the right place—on the solid foundation of who we are in Christ.  In my own life I must need continual reminding  to not let my feelings get in the way or my circumstances be allowed to dictate my actions. But, as we (I!) stand firmly on the unchangeable truths of the gospel of Christ, our (my!)faith is being continuously built.

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul,
a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil,
where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us….
Hebrews 6:19 and 20

How about you? Do the words of this beautiful hymn evoke a response in your heart when you hear them?  (I would so LOVE to ‘hear’ your answer in the comments below.)

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Interested in joining us for our next Online Bible Study that starts on January 13, 2014?   Click HERE for more details!

“I AM” Chapter 4 – Day 4: Jesus is The LIGHT

John15_11

 

This time last week I sat in the dark.  There were no lamps, no overhead lights on; I couldn’t turn them on if I wanted to.  It was a Monday, a typical Monday if you know what I mean.  My power had been turned off and there was nothing I could do about it.  Can you relate?

On day one of this week, Teresa asked us which verse in John chapter 1 could we relate to the most, right now, where we are.  I chose verse 5, not even realizing that it was my topic for this week.  God is funny like that, right?  John 1: 4-5 says this: “The word gave life to everything that was created, and His life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot extinguish it!”

Do you understand what that means? The darkness of evil never can and never will overcome God’s Light.  Jesus Christ is the Creator of life, and we are dead people walking until He comes into our lives and breathes life into us.  His life brings light to us and in His light we see ourselves as we really are—sinners in need of a Savior, a Redeemer.

When we choose to follow Jesus, He becomes our true Light and we no longer have to walk blindly and fall into our old sinful ways.  He lights the path ahead of us so that we can see the way we need to live.  He removes the darkness of sin in our lives.  He shows us how to walk along the way to freedom from sin and darkness.  See, all who welcome Jesus as Lord of their lives will never have to live in darkness.  Now, that doesn’t mean we will not have trouble or trials; and that doesn’t mean that we won’t sin.  It just means that no matter how dark your world may feel, He is there, giving you hope, peace, and joy.  And remember, He became human Himself and experienced some of the same sufferings and hardships that we go through.  He is your beacon in this sometimes dark world.

Our verse for today is John 8:12. “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life!”  Here, Jesus was talking to the people again, in the part of the Temple called the treasury.  It was where offerings were put and where candles burned to symbolize the pillar of fire that led the people of Israel through the wilderness.  The pillar of fire represented God’s presence, His guidance, and His protection.  In this context, Jesus Himself calls Himself the Light of the world.  He is God’s Presence in our lives.  He is God’s protection over us and He is God’s guidance.  God sent His own Son!  Is that not amazing that He loves us that much?

The last verses I found in the Bible that talk about Jesus being the Light are in 2 Corinthians 4:6-7.  “For God, who said, ‘Let there be light in the darkness,’ has made us understand that this light is the brightness of the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. But this precious treasure, this light and power that now shines within us, is held in perishable containers, that is, our weak bodies, so everyone can see that our glorious power is from God and is not our own.” We are perishable containers yet God entrusted us with His precious treasure, Jesus Christ, His Son; that this Light shines brighter than any darkness we could possibly have in our lives.

I did a little research on the sunflower (it is my favorite flower) and it actually bends toward the sun so that it can catch as much light as it possibly can.  In the early morning, it actually tilts to the east, and by twilight it tilts to the west.  If you take the flower and place it in a dark closet, it will still continue to bend everyday, just as it did when it was outside.  Even the sunflower knows that the ones that are most likely to survive are the ones that catch the most light.

Friends, I don’t want to just survive; I want to really thrive both physically and spiritually!  The only way to do that is to stay bending toward the Light—the light of our Lord Jesus Christ.

What about you today?  Where does He need to shine in your life?  What darkness is threatening to suck the life out of you?  It is simple, really.  Just ask and He will come rescue you and fill you with His Light.

And back to my story about the power outage…God came through as He always does and performed another miracle and the lights came back on.  I praised Him the rest of the day!

Let’s Pray:

Dear Heavenly Daddy, thank You for sending Jesus, Your only Son, as a Light for all who believe and receive Him into their hearts and lives.  For once we were in darkness, and now we have the Light of the Lord.  May we live as people of the Light.  May we produce only what is good, with a heavy reliance on You.  Oh Lord, we love You, we praise You, and we want only You to be the Light of our lives.  Nothing of this world will satisfy and fulfill us.  May we seek You and may our lights shine so that others will want what we have. For it is in Your Son’s precious Name, we pray.

Amen

“I AM” Chapter 4 – Day 3: I AM The Way

John15_11

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“I AM THE WAY”  is a bold statement.  It’s an exclusive statement and an inclusive statement.

 These three words have powerful meanings:

Bold ~  assured, confident

Exclusive ~ the only one

Inclusive ~ covers all cost

 The definition of “The Way” ~ “an opening for passage”

Do you see it?

We have a definite and planned path to get to the “I AM.”

John 14:6  Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

The Bible does not teach, “For God so loved the world that He gave the world many ways to himself.”  What does John 3:16 say?

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever (that’s the INCLUSIVE PART)  believes in Him (that’s the EXCLUSIVE part) should not perish but have everlasting life.

When Jesus uses the phrase, “I AM,” in Exodus 3:14 He is claiming the name for Himself. He is announcing Himself to us as the One who has come to fulfill His covenant and keep His promise.

When Jesus uses the word “I” in John 14:6,  He declares Himself to be the embodiment of “The Way.”  His planned path is wrapped up in a person.

Without the way there is no going

Without the truth there is no knowing

Without the life there is no living

People are always challenging this verse from the Bible, but this verse will help us to see God has bridged the gap between man and God and Jesus is the one who succeeded in making this bridge the reality for each of us.   Let’s look a little carefully at the statements in this verse:

  •  I Am The Way ~ this statement is not saying He is showing us the way, but that He is the way, He is the journey, He is the opening of the passage, He is the way for us to God, He spans the distance between sinners and God.  When we are all alone, or lost in our daily path we walk, we must remember Jesus is the path. Jesus spells it out so that there can be no mistake of how we get to Him. No one comes to the Father except through Him. No matter how important we think we are. No matter how religious or spiritual we are. No matter how many followers or friends we have, or how many people we have influenced. No matter how good or kind we are.  No matter how devoted we are. No matter how genuine we are.  Everyone who rejects Jesus Christ cannot come to God.
  • I Am The Truth ~ the Bible teaches that truth is not just something that is simply intellectual; it also has a moral dimension to it. John 3:21a refers to doing the truth: “But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light…” Jesus reveals God and exposes guilty people. Hebrews 13:8 states: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever”.

Do you remember that scene from “A Few Good Men” when Jack Nicholson said to Tom Cruise, “You can’t handle the truth?” Well what about it? Can we handle the truth?  Let’s not run away from what is right in front of us!

Pilate voiced the question on many minds today. Even though Jesus was standing right in front of Him, he asked in John 18:38: “What is truth?” He didn’t take the time to find out.  We will find what we are looking for in Christ as John 8:32 declares: “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

  • I Am The Life ~ the Bible describes life in Genesis 2:7 as “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.”  God Himself gave life when He formed man and breathed life into him and He gave us life again when He gave us His Son to die for our sins.   In simple words God gave us His Life, then and today. We would be dead without His Life. We become alive when we surrender ourselves to Him. John 5:24 says : “I tell you the truth, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”  Since Jesus is life, we will only find meaning when we commit to His Lordship. John 1:4 says: “In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.”

BOLD ~ Acts 4:12: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

Jesus is bold all throughout Scripture that He is the only way to the Father, to heaven.  Are we being bold enough with others in our daily walk to teach them the same, or are we holding back from telling others of this truth and giving them the same opportunity to knowing who “The Way” is?

EXCLUSIVE ~ 1 Timothy 2:5-6: “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all to be testified in due time”

Jesus is exclusive all throughout Scripture sharing truths of Him being the only One, the only Way to Him.  He is the only God who is not still in a tomb! He arose and is waiting for us.  Have we shared these truths with others or are we allowing them to somehow think there are other ways to heaven?

INCLUSIVE ~ John 6:37 states: “All those the Father gives me, will come to me and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.”

Jesus is inclusive all throughout Scripture describing to us that He covered the cost of salvation for us and all we have to do is say “yes”.

Dr. David Jeremiah stated in one of his devotions: How did Jesus provide the way, truth, and life? Did He just say the words and walk away to do something else? No. He backed up what He said, He made good on His words by acting on them. He gave His own life on the Cross.  He died on Calvary’s tree to provide us the way, the truth, and the life. To not accept Jesus on this very point is to declare (I’m afraid), “Jesus, you can’t be trusted,” or even worse, “Jesus, you’re not telling the truth.” By God’s grace and goodness, we know better than that.

With the answer to this verse now explained you may be asking “How do I get to “the way, the truth and the life?”   It’s simple:  Romans 10:9-10 says, “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. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.  So confess, believe and receive today!

**********

Let’s Pray:

Dear Lord, I pray for every person who has read Your Word and this lesson and I lift them to You right now asking You to speak boldly to the hearts of the ones who may have never received You as Savior and open their eyes to this new truth they just learned today; that You are “The Way, The Truth and The Life” and the only way to You is through You.   Help them to say yes to You today, Lord, and receive the best gift ever given.  Help the ones who are already believers in You to share this same truth with the world and bring new souls to Your kingdom.  We know better —so let’s show it better, in Your name I pray.

AMEN!

“I AM” Chapter 4 – Day 1: Jesus is the “I AM”

 

Memory Verse:

John15_11

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I am full of questions today.  Why is it important for people to know us?  What difference does it make if people REALLY know who we are?  Does it hurt us when people get the wrong impression of us?  If I needed someone to write my life story, what kind of person would I choose to do that for me?  How would I go about finding someone who could accurately portray Who I Am to other people?

If you are still following along with us after three weeks of learning who the Great I AM is through the Old Testament, then hold on to your seat, because Jesus is going to ramp up the study!  Jesus was like that, you know.  Wherever He found people, He would push them outside their comfort zone, challenge their beliefs and get them to really see themselves for who they really are.  Have you begun to look at yourself a little differently yet?

As we cross the Bridge from the Old Testament to the New Testament we walk across 400 silent, unholy, mixed-up years.  God is preparing the world stage for the coming Messiah.  The people were living life the way they wanted to, making gods of whatever they found valuable to them at the time.  The Bridge crosses a silent ocean of godlessness.  The picture of the Bridge in my mind sags in the middle.  The first part is downhill, bottoms out at a very low point and then there is an uphill climb to get off on the other side.

Look at our memory verse for the week.  It is John 15:11.  If you notice in your study guide, there is a typo in the “I AM’s” of Jesus.  It should read John 15:1 for that section.  As I began to prepare for the study, I had all these questions, so I took them to Jesus.  He turned that typo into our memory verse for the week and the answer to ALL my questions.  He will do that, you know.  There are no dumb questions when you seek Him with ALL your heart.  He will give us the answers we need so our JOY will be FULL.

  • Why is it important for people to know us?  We were placed on this earth for a purpose.  If we don’t share ourselves with others, we are missing our purpose.  Don’t miss your purpose for living.  Share your life with others.
  • What difference does it make if people REALLY know who we are?  If you do not show them who you really are, they will make up their own story.  Some of it may be true, but it cannot ALL be true.  Truth is important!  Let others into your life so there is no question where you stand on important matters.
  • Does it hurt when people get the wrong impression of us?  Absolutely!!!  There is nothing more painful than having someone tell a lie about us and have others believe it.  It hurts even worse than when the story is true.  We can grow through that pain, too.
  • If I needed someone to write my life story, what kind of person would I choose to do that for me?  I would want someone who was known to be truthful, honest, and fair.  Someone who had taken the time to get to know me and my heart.  Someone who would not back down when others had a different story to tell.
  • How would I go about finding someone who could accurately portray Who I Am to other people?  I would take the time to reveal myself to others so they could make up their own minds about me and let them write the story based on their own experiences with me.  Each story would be different and unique—just like the relationship between us.  By reading the stories of each writer, others would be able to get a fuller picture of who I really am.

Who did Jesus choose to reveal His character to?  He chose to share His life with strangers who HE turned into disciples.  He said, “Follow Me” and they did.  The disciples got to see the good, the bad, and the ugly of living life as Jesus.  Just like us, Jesus had best friends.  John was Jesus’ closest friend and gives us our first seven “I AM’s.”  If I truly want to know who Jesus is and what He is like, I want to talk to His best friends.

You are writing your life story RIGHT NOWWhat would those closest people to you be able to reveal about your character?  It matters, you know.  If you aren’t showing them the example you had hoped, there is time to make changes and reflect the Light inside you.  You can open the Door and offer Bread.  You can point people to the Way, the Truth and the Life.  Your story isn’t finished yet.  Finish it well!

__________

Let’s Pray:

Dear Jesus,  Messiah, Lord of ALL,

We thank You for making Yourself known to us.  Thank You for loving us in our sinfulness enough to give Your life for ours.  Thank You for showing us what it means to develop friendships.  I pray for each person seeking You today.  I pray they find You right where they are.  We allow You into our hearts so that Your Spirit can change us from the inside out.  We want to reflect Your Truth, Your Light, and Your Way.  We can feel that JOY welling up now.  Help us to reach the overflowing mark.  We love You, Jesus!

AMEN