Monday, March 25, 2013


“Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.” (Isaiah 53:4 ESV)

We sang a Lenten anthem this season entitled “Surely He Has Borne Our Griefs"  which is based on this Isaiah passage.  The opening word surely brings me a lot of comfort as it emphasizes the veracity and very certainty of Christ’s actions while making them both personal and universal: He did this for me and for us.   We can be confident in the completeness and perfection of Christ’s sacrifice that it is all we need to gain salvation.

Hebrews 10:14 says,“But when this priest (Jesus) had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time He waits for His enemies to be made His footstool because  by one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.”

Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection are the only atonement we need to be reconciled to God and to share eternal life with Him. Without accepting His sacrifice, though, we are lost forever. “Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.” (John 3:18)

As you reflect on Jesus’ sacrifice this week, remember another surely statement from the Bible, the words of the centurion and Roman soldiers who were eyewitnesses to Jesus’ crucifixion:  “Surely He was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:54)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Proactive Prayer

“Well all I can do is pray.”
 “There’s nothing I can do but pray.”

I am appalled when I hear myself or one of my friends say those words. As if prayer is a last resort and not a first line of defense. As if we are not praying to the God of the universe who holds together all things by His word.  (Colossians 1:17)

Yet it seems we often wait until there is a crisis to turn to God. We pray diligently during weekly church services and we intend to have a daily prayer time and remember all those requests friends and family give us. But we get tired and distracted. Until some tragedy strikes and stops us in our tracks. Our world is shaken and we expect God to right it for us. He will because He loves us but I wonder how far I am missing the mark when I forget to pray proactively? When I neglect to pray for the ordinary things, for safety and wellness for those who appear safe and well in addition to those I know are not. I seldom overlook the need to pray for those in my life who have yet to accept the saving grace of Christ; but how often do I pray for God to strengthen the spiritual walk and provide growth for those in my life who already claim to be disciples?

I want to remember to pray in the calm before life’s storms, not just during the chaos they cause. In Ephesians 6:18, Paul encourages us to “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” I am also striving to become more like the Old Testament prophet Samuel who said, “As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you.”(1 Samuel 12:23a)