On Sunday morning the worship team sang the Chris Tomlin song, I Will Rise. The lyrics of the first verse resonated more deeply than ever as I thought about what I tried to begin explaining last Wednesday.
There's a peace I've come to know"The grave is overwhelmed"...oh, how I love those words! The graveyard of "the law;" the dry bones and dust of "the will" apart from his will.
Though my heart and flesh may fail
There's an anchor for my soul
I can say "It is well"
Jesus has overcome
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won He is risen from the dead
And I will rise...
I recently began using The Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan prayers, as a guide to meditation and devotion. It was recommended by my friend and sister in the Lord, Ann Voskamp, and from the moment I first opened its pages I loved that small, black leather bound book. So much so that it has become one of my greatest treasures, next to reading the Bible.
From every page there blazes an understanding of God and of the beauty of his plan for the redemption of Man that leaves me breathless, and I realize that these men knew God deeply; grasped the whole of the Good News and lived with resulting overwhelming joy and peace.
In the preface, the editor, Arthur Bennet; Canon of St. Albans Cathedral, England; lists the 14 men whose writings make up the book, but individually the author of each prayer or devotion is not identified.
These lines, from page 80-81, express what I have understood at last--that Christ did and more than that-- does--all that is necessary to satisfy the chasm between man and God, and between what man is and what God asks us to become:
Thou has taught me the necessity of a Mediator, a Messiah,
to be embraced in love with all my heart,
as king to rule me,
as prophet to guide me,
as priest to take away my sin and death,
and this by faith in thy beloved Son
who teaches me
not to guide myself,
not to obey myself,
not to try to rule and conquer sin,
but to cleave to the one who will do all for me.
Thou hast made known to me
that to save me is Christ's work,
but to cleave to him by faith is my work...
Hudson Taylor, the great missionary, and founder of the China Inland Mission, once wrote:
It is the consciousness of the threefold joy of the Lord, His joy in ransoming us, His joy in dwelling within us as our Saviour and Power for fruitbearing and His joy in possessing us, as His Bride and His delight; it is the consciousness of this joy which is our real strength. Our joy in Him may be a fluctuating thing: His joy in us knows no change.Again, I share these verses from 2 Peter, that I have been meditating on much for months. Everything is summed up in them and I pray that the Holy Spirit brings them alive to you as have been made alive to me:
2 Peter 1:3-10
New International Version (NIV)
Confirming One’s Calling and Election
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.
8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters,[a] make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble,