Position of Highest Honor

In Scripture, sitting is often a posture of dignity. In Job (29), Daniel (7) and Revelation (5), we see superiors sitting before inferiors. Sitting also signifies rest. There were no chairs in the Old Testament tabernacle. That’s because the priest’s work was never finished.

Hebrews 10:11-12 reads, “Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD.” Christ’s work of atonement is complete; on the cross He declared, “It is finished” (John 19:30). Proof of this is that He is now seated on high (Heb. 1:3).

“On high,” hupselos in Greek, is a word that means, “lofty, esteemed, the highest height.” So, the One who once had no place to lay His head now maintains the grandest seat in the universe. Having accomplished His earthly mission, He actively rules over time, space and all creation from this position of highest honor.

Christ’s reign includes control over not only the far-reaching galaxies, but also the grass in our backyard. He is holding together our skin and hair right now. If He were to stop thinking us into being, we would cease to be. This is how dependent we are on Jesus. What does that do to our self-sufficiency?

Heir of All Things

The book of Hebrews was written to several groups of people. Believers were in danger of being entangled with old covenants. Of course, we know the person of Jesus Christ and His perfect sacrifice are sufficient, so those old covenants simply aren’t needed anymore.

One key theological theme in Hebrews is that all believers now have direct access to God under the new covenant through Jesus Christ. As is stated in chapters 4 and 10, we may approach the throne of God boldly. Warnings also appear throughout the text to unbelievers either who know the truth and reject it, or to those who haven’t yet understood it. In Hebrews we see Christianity’s superiority over Judaism, and this distinguishes the book from all others.

Jewish people understood the laws of inheritance. The firstborn child was the one who received the inheritance, the family estate and wealth. The Messiah, Jesus Christ, is the firstborn Son of God. He is the heir of God. His inheritance indicates who He is (Heb. 1:2). In Psalm 2, God speaks to the Son and says, “I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.” Whether in the material world or the spiritual world, all that exists and has ever been created, belongs to Christ.

Mind-boggling thought of the day: As Jesus reigns at the right hand of the Father as heir, we get to share in His inheritance. The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ… (Romans 8:16-17)

Because of our union with Christ, we will also enjoy the inheritance the Father has appointed His Son. John MacArthur says it this way, “He put on humanity that we might put on divinity… He became Son of man that we might become sons of God.”

Time Flies

In one more hour, I turn another year older. I have finally reached that point where I don’t want to say the actual number. Where do the years go? I realize time is slipping through my fingers when I see how quickly my little girl is growing up. Even the dog is aging!

The Lord of my life is also the Lord of time and space. Reigning on His throne, the universe hangs on His arm. How small I am. But, how blessed I am to be His child! Life is so precious. Held in His grip, I am thankful for every breath He affords.

Thank you, Father, for another year of grace-covered moments and abundant blessings. When my next birthday rolls around, may I know You more fully, more intimately than I do now. Reign from Your throne in my heart, God of the Ages, God of now.

As Far as the East is from the West

Daily I pass by others who know not the King of kings. They go through life without the understanding of Who Jesus is and what He has done. His sacrificial work on the cross was the complete and perfect purification of our sin. This is why He came. Oprah has it all wrong, doesn’t she? Yes, Christ came to set forth an example of how to live, but God became flesh to deal with our sin problem!

Spurgeon says it so magnificently when reflecting upon Psalm 103:12, As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us: “This He did on Calvary’s cross; there effectually, finally, totally, completely, eternally, He purged all His people from their sin by taking it upon Himself, bearing all its dreadful consequences, canceling and blotting it out, casting it into the depths of the sea, and putting it away forever: and all this He did ‘by Himself.’ It was indeed amazing love that made Him stoop to this purgation, this expiation, this atonement for sin; but, because He was Who and What He was, He did it thoroughly, perfectly. He said, ‘It is finished,’ and I believe him. I do not – I cannot – for a moment admit that there is anything to be done by us to complete that work, or anything required of us to make the annihilation of our sins complete. Those for whom Christ died are cleansed from all their guilt, and they may go their way in peace. He was made a curse for us, and there is nothing but blessing left for us to enjoy.”

Bird on a Wire

Birds on a wire

Many people wonder how they will make it through this year financially. Yet nothing is a surprise to God. He is not worried. He is sovereign. He is in control. He is the ultimate Provider. And yes, He is even rich.

Do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?” (Matthew 6:25-27)

Worry is a trap of the enemy, but trust is a duty of the believer. John Newton’s lyric, ‘tis mine to obey, ‘tis His to provide, speaks volumes. Through obedience, we experience joy. We are not teetering on some wire without a purpose or a safety net. We can rest comfortably in the knowledge that our heavenly Father tenderly cares for and feeds even the tiny sparrow.

Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered (Matthew 10:29-30).

Psalm 40

Psalm 40 has been a favorite passage of Scripture of mine since I was a youth. One Sunday morning when I was twelve, I was scheduled to sing at a church across town from the smaller one my father pastored. We hadn’t lived in this town very long and I was nervous. The cool kids went to this church. My mother sat next to me, ready to accompany me on a new song we had rehearsed. Our prayer had been that the congregation would see Jesus and place their trust in Him.

Just before my turn to sing, the preacher read Psalm 40:1-3. I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear and will trust in the LORD.

Wow! Peace like I had never known filled my heart, and I went forth and sang with confidence. I have no idea if anyone was ministered to that day, but I do know that the Almighty God met me in my moment of weakness. Through the power of His Word, He strengthened me. The Word is His method of communication and I knew, even as a twelve-year-old, my Heavenly Father had spoken to me.

Changing Perspective

It is nothing short of amazing that the God of the universe desires to give blessings to His children. For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep (Psalm 127:2). Though He fully understands my every need, I continually find myself in the “asking mode” while in prayer. Of course, there is nothing wrong with asking, but maybe it’s a better idea to praise Him – praise Him for the answer yet to come. Whether it’s yes or no, we can rest as His children, knowing He holds the perfect outcome.

How many times have I grumbled in my heart or with my mouth over something that should have been left to His care? I fear the measure of my character could be found in this number. A change in perspective is key. There are the obvious blessings in my life, and then there is the moment I stub my toe. In that moment, can I praise Him for the ability to walk? This may be a silly example, but I do desire to have a heart filled with praise for Him and His sovereign control, regardless of my circumstance.

This is the season when we focus on the Light that came into the world so many years ago. However, it seems many people, even Christians, are finding ways to be fearful. Instead, let’s be overwhelmed by the gift of this Light. For the Sunrise has visited us from on high to shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace (Luke 1:78-79).

Fervor for Worship

We just returned from three weeks in Europe, traveling through five countries, staying in nine different locations, ministering in international churches and at a pastoral conference.

We experienced the Lord’s daily protection and His provision in unexpected ways. We witnessed the power of His Word preached by godly men, the passion He has placed in pastors and their wives who sacrifice everything to serve Him, and the commonality found in His Son with people of every nation and tongue. There seems to be a fervor for the worship of God in international services we don’t often find in the states. Now, how do we inspire this fervor? Encourage it? Live it?

My Portion Forever

I praise God for those moments when I am painfully aware of sin. Though I fail, time and time again, His grace abounds. Growth through failure may be the hardest kind, but at least it’s growth! I love Psalm 73:26. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. 

Our record label’s name, Portion Records, stems from this verse. In my human frailty, I find refuge under the wings (Ps. 91) of the Almighty, Holy, Perfect God, who covers me in the forgiveness and protection of His Son’s blood (Heb. 9). There I can pursue righteousness afresh. He is my portion. He strengthens my heart with purpose to try again. And I will.

O to Be Like Thee!

O to be like Thee! blessed Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

These words to the old hymn, penned by Thomas O. Chisholm, have hit home lately. Every day I watch my 15 mos. old imitate me cleaning, talking on the phone, singing, etc. I am sometimes overwhelmed with the task before me: to be someone worth imitating! Lillie had a bib when she was younger that read, “More Like Mama Everyday.” Yes, it is my great joy to see her holding a “microphone” and singing with such passion, yet I know she imitates me unaware of why. As an adult, I know full well why I need to imitate our Lord.

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma (Eph. 5:1-2).

This gift, His sacrifice, should drive the believer to full surrender of self. Gladly forfeiting any earthly treasure, we should seek His perfect likeness through every word, deed, and thought.

For you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (Eph. 5:8).

The great desire of my heart is to walk in a manner worthy of the calling (Col. 1), so that my daughter may reap the benefits of the fruit I bear. I pray she will be found asking this very same question some day: How do I become more like Christ so they can see all He is?