Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The Crux of the Matter: Top 25 Jesus Quotes: #15


Number 15 on our hit parade of quotes about Jesus comes to us from the well-known pen of Oswald Chambers. His book, My Utmost for His Highest, was first published in 1927 (ten years after his death), has never been out of print, and remains a top-seller in devotional literature.

The thought being featured today is this:
"The center of salvation is the Cross of Jesus, and the reason it is so easy to obtain salvation is because it cost God so much."


Don't misunderstand. To say that salvation is easy to obtain is certainly true, but it doesn't mean that fleshing that out on a day-by-day basis is a stroll in the park. There's probably a good reason Paul tells us to "work out your salvation with fear and trembling." (Philippians 2:12)

In fact, in the very next verse, Paul is kind enough to tell us that good reason. It's because "it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose."

The creator of all that exists is working within me to accomplish His purpose. Just as He was working through Jesus Christ by sending Him to the cross. If that doesn't fill me with a fearsome sense of awe and enough wonder to set my knees to knocking, what will?


*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Truth is..."Never forget what Jesus did for you. Never take lightly what it cost Him. And never assume that if it cost Him His very life, that it won't also cost you yours." (Rich Mullins)

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Acts 2: 25-27 With Footnotes


David said about Jesus,
     "I saw the Lord before me at all times;
       he is by my right side, so that I will
       not be troubled.
     Because of this my heart is glad
       and my words are full of joy;
     and I, mortal though I am,
       will rest assured in hope,
     because you will not abandon my soul in
       the world of the dead"




Mile after mile
I am walking and holding to the One who
Cares, really cares
And who calls me His own
Life is a highway
We don't have to walk alone
Just give Him a try, maybe
You'll sing like me


With Jesus I'm stayin'
With Jesus I'm goin'
In Jesus I'm livin'
Each and every day of my life
With Jesus I'm stayin'
With Jesus I'm goin'
And Jesus is teachin' me love each day

Trial after trial
He is drawing me closer to the One who
Loves, really loves
More than my mind can know
Love one another
Is what He has clearly shown
Just call someone brother
And then you will see

"With Jesus"
©1974 Latter Rain Music and Word Music, Inc.




*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Truth is...Jesus wasn't just puttin' on the Ritz when He said he would be with us always...even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20). And if that doesn't have an effect on how I'm staying and going and living each and every day of my life, that's on me...not Him.


Tuesday, March 17, 2020

I Never Got What I Wanted


I find it very difficult to believe that the following poem was written by a 14-year-old boy, but that is apparently the case, according to where it is excerpted from: the book Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow, originally from Who Gets the Glory? by Dr. Charles R. Swindoll. (Thanks to blogger Kara @ Just1Step for giving proper credit.)




It was spring but it was summer I wanted;
the warm days and great outdoors.

It was summer but it was fall I wanted;
the colorful leaves and the cool dry air.

It was fall but it was winter I wanted;
the beautiful snow and the joy of the holiday season.

It was winter but it was spring I wanted;
the warmth and the blossoming of nature.

I was a child but it was adulthood I wanted;
the freedom and the respect.

I was twenty but it was thirty I wanted;
to be mature and sophisticated.

I was middle-aged but it was twenty I wanted;
the youth and the free spirit.

I was retired but it was middle-aged I wanted;
the presence of a mind without limitations.

My life was over but I never got what I wanted.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Truth is...This gives added weight to the almost-flippant phrase, "Wherever you go in life, be there."

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Truth by the Bald Guy: Top 25 Jesus Quotes: #16


In the last several years, Tony Campolo has ruffled a few conservative feathers with some of his liberal-leaning views about hot-button topics, but in the times I've personally heard him speak (back in my youth ministry days), he never failed to wake me from my complacency, point me in the right direction, and give me a firm shove.

This quote of his that comes in 16th on azquotes.com's list of top 25 quotes about Jesus carries on the tradition.




Jesus never says to the poor: "come find the church," but he says to those of us in the church: "go into the world and find the poor, hungry, homeless, imprisoned."

Truth is...You can read the whole story in Matthew 25:31-46, but Jesus' punch line (and it packs quite a punch) is, "I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me."

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Acts 2: 22-24 With Footnotes


Listen to these words, men of Israel! Jesus of Nazareth was a man whose divine mission was clearly shown to you by the miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through him; you yourselves know this, for it took place here among you.




I fall in love so easy
With everything that I see
That comes through the light of His love
Sets my soul to flight
As He woos me and makes me new
I hope you're falling in love, too
'Cause Jesus loves you, too


Let the Son keep shinin'
Let the Son keep shinin'
Let the Son keep shinin' through
Let the Son keep shinin'
Let the Son keep shinin'
Let the Son keep shinin' through
You

Lookin' at the Son don't bother me now
The darkness is gone out of me somehow
There's a brighter Light within me
I'll stand in the presence of my Lord
Knowin' I'm not guilty anymore
His Son took away my fears today
There's been a change done in me by Jesus
There's been a change done in me somehow
There's been a change done in me by Jesus
There's been a change done in me

Let the change come
Let it come, let it come
Let the change come

Lookin' at the Son don't bother me now
The darkness is gone out of me somehow

There's a brighter Light within
I'm free from sin, I'm clean within
The darkness has gone out of me now

"I fall in Love/Change"
©1974 Latter Rain Music and Word Music, Inc.



God, in his own will and knowledge, had already decided that Jesus would be handed over to you; and you killed him, by letting sinful men nail him to the cross. (At this point, the liner notes for 2nd Chapter of Acts' album, With Footnotes, put a footnote pointing readers to "Easter Song." But since we've already covered Keith Green's version of that song, let's move on.) But God raised him from the dead; he set him free from the pains of death, because it was impossible that death should hold him prisoner.



*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Truth is...I'm not really sure why this song is referenced at this place in the chapter, other than giving a celebratory commentary on "it took place here among you." But you know what? I'm also not really sure why Jesus chooses to set me free and shine through me and makes me all that I can be.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Failure Is Not Optional, It's Expected


A musical group with one of the strangest names in recorded history (Chumbawamba) sang one of the most-oddly-named songs ever written ("Tubthumping"). It was the group's biggest hit, even though it reached Number 12 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 20 Most-Annoying Songs.

Having just read the complete lyric, I'm glad that all anybody really remembers is the endlessly repeated "I get knocked down, but I get up again." It's an empowering, energetic anthem of personal triumph.

It's also the normal turn of events when trying to do or learn anything. "If at first you don't succeed" is Standard Operating Procedure for humanity.


And I'm not the only one who thinks so:


  • The semi-official mantra of the engineering department at Franklin Institute's nationally-recognized Science Leadership Academy is "Fail early. Fail often."
  • "Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently."  -  Henry Ford
  • "Each time you fail, you have eliminated another wrong option."  -  Thomas A. Edison
  • "The awesome thing about failure is that it is only temporary. Embrace it, learn the lesson and come back blazing."  -  Joel Brown
  • "Failure is another steppingstone to greatness."  -  Oprah Winfrey


Truth is...even the apostle Paul, who wrote a large chunk of the New Testament, can be added to the list. "Yet, my brothers, I do not consider myself to have 'arrived', spiritually, nor do I consider myself already perfect. But I keep going on, grasping ever more firmly that purpose for which Christ grasped me. My brothers, I do not consider myself to have fully grasped it even now. But I do concentrate on this: I leave the past behind and with hands outstretched to whatever lies ahead I go straight for the goal"  -  Philippians 3:12-14 (Phillips)

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Gandhi on Jesus: Top 25 Jesus Quotes: #17


Mahatma Gandhi, though raised as a Hindu, spent significant time comparing religions. Today's Jesus quote was, no doubt, born of Gandhi's spiritual searching and may be the most discouraging quote on the list:




I like your Christ.
I do not like your Christians.
Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.

Truth is...the disparity between professing faith in Christ and living in a Christ-like manner has always stood as one of the greatest barriers between seeking Truth and falling in love with Jesus.

Lord, empower me to love like Jesus, pray like Jesus...indeed, to live like Jesus. May my life lift up Jesus so that all people will be drawn to Him.