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The Glory of Obedience

John 17:1, 9, 24 

Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, …

I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours; …

Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.

John 17:1, 9, 24 NASB

Jesus’ prayer – gives us a window into Our Savior’s heart. Here, we glimpse His deepest longings. The word “glory” appears nine times. “I glorify You, Father.” “You have glorified me, Father.” “I have given them the glory that You gave me, Father.” Glory seems to be the love-language between the Father and the Son, and in God’s embrace of us, we too have a share in that glory. Isn’t that glorious?

Well, what does the Glory of God look like? Evidently, glory takes on a different appearance on earth as it does in heaven. In heaven, Jesus shared the majestic manifest glory of His Father, as King of heaven, worshiped by angels from everlasting to everlasting. In coming to earth, He traded this manifest glory for a different kind of glory – the glory of obedience to His Father’s will. Was He any less glorious when He lay in a feeding trough, when He touched lepers, when He knelt to wash men’s filthy feet, when He was spit upon, beaten and nailed to a cross? No. This is the glory of obedience.

This is the glory we get to share here and now: Giving glorious pleasure to Our Father’s heart as He watches us walk this earth in obedience to His Word and His Will, glorifying Jesus Christ before men. God’s glory was the deepest longing of Jesus’ heart. May His glory be the deepest longing of our hearts as well.

By Christa Grajcar, PBC Small Group Leader

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This is another entry from our 47 day pre-Easter prayer guide. Christa is a dear sister in the Lord, and a wonderful servant of Jesus. She models to the body of Christ what it means to die to self and live for Him.

There is a deep revelation in her word, – simple (not to be confused with easy) obedience demonstrates the glory of God in us.

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by.

See you again soon.

Ben

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The Testing of Our Faith ~ SoS Saturday   

Many Waters - SoS header

This Song of Songs moves back and forth between narrative, moving the story of the Shepherd King and His maiden bride, and intimate conversations.

The narrative sections depict for us the progression of the life of a fully devoted believer’s walk from interest in the things of God, through intimacy, and into partnership. The conversations give us beautiful pictures of who Christ is to us and in us, as well as how He sees us from His heavenly perspective.

The last bit of narrative had the bride giving her garden, her life, over to the Lover of her soul with nothing held back.

Now we move into a period of the testing of her faith. The Lord will test both areas of her devotion. From the start we’ve traced her progress on two fronts – intimacy and partnership – the two requests she made of Him in the beginning of the Song. “Draw me after you and let us run together!” (Song of Songs 1:4 NASB)

The Song:

I was asleep but my heart was awake.

A voice! My beloved was knocking:

Open to me, my sister, my darling, 
My dove, my perfect one! 
For my head is drenched with dew,
My locks with the damp of the night.

I have taken off my dress,
How can I put it on again?
I have washed my feet,
How can I dirty them again?

My beloved extended his hand through the opening,
And my feelings were aroused for him.
I arose to open to my beloved;
And my hands dripped with myrrh,
And my fingers with liquid myrrh,
On the handles of the bolt.

I opened to my beloved,
But my beloved had turned away and had gone!
My heart went out to him as he spoke.
I searched for him but I did not find him;
I called him but he did not answer me.

The watchmen who make the rounds in the city found me,
They struck me and wounded me;
The guardsmen of the walls took away my shawl from me.

I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
If you find my beloved,
As to what you will tell him:
For I am lovesick.”

Song of Songs 5:2-8 NASB

Many commentators look at this as failure – sin – in the maiden, but we will not take that approach. I believe that just as when Abraham finally had his promise in hand and the Lord asked him to give it up, so we can see that the maiden’s resolve is tested on both fronts. I first had this turned around for me by Mike Bickle in his series on the Song of Songs.

This is a meaty passage so don’t miss it.

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by today.

Don’t forget to shine in the darkness surrounding you.

Ben

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GOOD Friday

Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?” that is, “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?” And some of those who were standing there, when they heard it, began saying, “This man is calling for Elijah.” Immediately one of them ran, and taking a sponge, he filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and gave Him a drink. But the rest of them said, “Let us see whether Elijah will come to save Him.” And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many. Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” – Matthew 27:45-54 NASB

The good part of Good Friday is in Matthew 27:51: “the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” This is a clear picture of what was happening in the heavenly realm. It illustrates that everyone now has full access to the Holy of Holies. We can come into God’s presence at any time, all the time, in fact, right now! As the song says, “Just as I am, without one pleaI come.” On the cross, a great ‘swap’ took place; Jesus took our sin and we received His righteousness and His access into the presence of Father God. This was the best ‘trade’ anyone could ever make, and it was the Father’s idea! Enjoy God’s presence right now! (How? Start by praising Him.) Psalm 16:11 says, “In Your presence is fullness of joy…” He wants you to come to Him.

By Larry Carroll

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This is Larry’s entry in our prayer journal. Along with being a fellow elder and blogger, Larry is my closest friend. You might enjoy his ‘encouragements’ posted on his blog, Encouragements.

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Will You Bow?

Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great,
And He will divide the booty with the strong;
Because He poured out Himself to death,
And was numbered with the transgressors;
Yet He Himself bore the sin of many,
And interceded for the transgressors. 

Isaiah 53:12 NASB

…Being found in appearance as a man, [And was numbered with the transgressors] He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, [Because He poured out Himself to death] even death on a cross. [Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, and interceded for the transgressors]

For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, [Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great] and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, [And He will divide the booty with the strong] so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. - Philippians 2:8-11 & Isaiah 53:12  NASB

O what a wonderful Savior

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Ben NelsonI hope this speed run though this most wonderful of Old Testament prophesies has done you as much good as it has me.

As we ponder the magnitude of what transpired those many years ago on a tree far away, my prayer for you is that the truth of Christ love for you transforms you into His image.

Ben

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Crushed and Prospered

But the LORD was pleased
To crush Him, putting Him to grief;
If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,
He will see His offspring,
He will prolong His days,
And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.

Isaiah 53:10 NASB

How can this be?

How can this please God?

The Father says at His Son’s baptism

…and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” – Matthew 3:17 NASB

Jesus Himself said this.

And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him. - John 8:29 NKJV

But did Jesus come at the behest of the Father simply to walk, to heal, to preach, or was He sent to die?

What not the cross the very thing that pleased the Father, because it was a demonstration of His will, His supreme plan?

for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:2 NASB

The joy was not in the crushing – the joy was in the final outcome.

As a mother in labor, their in no joy in the travail – the joy comes with the cries of life.

And as Isaiah foresees – though a blood sacrifice was made – this Lamb’s days were not numbered.

Jesus could stand with Job and say with confidence,

Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. – Job 13:15 NKJV

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Fear of the Lord

By His knowledge the Righteous One,
My Servant, will justify the many,
As He will bear their iniquities.

Isaiah 53:11 NASB

Where does the knowledge, the “how to” come from that would enable Jesus to undo the world wide slave mastery of sin? How did He obtain such wonderful knowledge?

God’s righteous servant found the way to the greatest wealth of knowledge – the source of knowledge.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge;
Fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 1:7 NASB

What does the fear of the Lord really look like? Jesus walked out the fear of the Lord the way it is intended for us. The place you see it most clearly is in Gethsemane.

He did not cower before the Father. He did not salute Him with some sort of religious reverence.

He stood before the Father complete exposed – all His emotion – all His fears – all His desires – and offered them to the Father in the words “not My will, but Thine be done.”

This is the fear of the Lord, and this is the beginning of knowledge.

When you lay your – well yourself – on the altar – you will know – and be known.

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The Truth

Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.

Isaiah 53:9 NASB

The two statements “God is Love,” and “I am the truth” show us that truth is just as much a part of the divine nature as is love.

Jesus is truth. He’s not just an honest man. He’s not just an honest opinion. He’s not just a valid way of looking at things.

He is THE Truth. He – Jesus – the Word of God in human form – is the Truth.

Not only was everything that He said true, but all truth has its root – its foundation – in Him.

Just as all love comes from the source of all love – Our Father.

We love, because He first loved us. – 1 John 4:19 NASB

By the same reason everything that is true has at its core Jesus.

By contrast satan is called the father of lies. Any twisting of truth is at its root demonic – satanically inspired.

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