Prison walls started falling

On Tuesday, I deleted the Facebook app from my phone in preparation for giving up social media for Lent. Now my phone is just a phone and not a time-wasting distraction. This morning as I drove to the gym, I listened to a beautiful song that not only expresses how I feel about the “sacrifice” I’m making, it reminds me of the real reason for the season of Lent.

Red Letters is a song written by David Crowder and Ed Cash about the life-changing impact of the red letter words of Jesus.

Then I read the red letters
And the ground began to shake
The prison walls started falling
And I became a free man that day

Red Letters – David Crowder Band

The phrase, prison walls started falling describes how I feel about being freed from the addictive hold of social media. Over time, I have become a slave to Facebook, depending on it to keep myself entertained, looking to it for social affirmation, and ridiculously fearing that I will miss out on something important if I don’t read my news feed everyday. It’s only been a couple of days since I gave it up, but the prison walls are already falling.

Red Letters also reminded me of the real sacrifice that Jesus made.

For God so loved the whole wide world
Sent His only Son to die for me
Arms spread wide for the whole wide world
His arms spread wide where mine should be
Jesus changed my destiny

Thank You, God, for red letters
When the ground began to shake
The grace of God started falling
And I became a free man that day
The prison walls started falling
And I am a free man today

Red Letters – David Crowder Band

Thank you, God, for red letters. Thank you, God, for Jesus!

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Photo by Denis Oliveira on Unsplash

Be near me, Lord Jesus

Of all the Christmas songs I sing, Away in a Manger speaks to my soul, like a prayer, especially the last two verses.

Be near me, Lord Jesus
I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever
And love me, I pray

Come Lord Jesus, come. Be near me. I need you, Lord, I need you.

Be near me, Lord Jesus, my Savior. Watch over me. Walk with me. Talk with me. I hear your voice and I feel your presence and I am comforted. You are with me. Stay close by me forever.

Carry me on your shoulders when I am weary. Lift me up when I am feeling down. When I am tossed about by the storms of life, calm the raging sea.

Jesus, Bread of Life. Without you, I was hungry. Without you, I was thirsty. You sustain me. You fill me with your love. Rivers of living water flow from my heart.

Lord, you are my rock and my redeemer, my best friend. You are the Way, the Truth and the Life. In you I found grace and truth. Show me your ways. Teach me your paths. Light my path and keep me from falling.

Lord, you are the Light of the world, love’s pure Light. Light shines in the darkness and darkness cannot overcome it. Lord, you have given me the light of life and because of you, I never have to walk in darkness again.

Bless all the dear children
In Thy tender care
And take us to Heaven
To live with Thee there

Lamb of God, you came into the world as a little baby. I came to you as a little child and found your love. And as a child, I learned to sing:

Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Red, brown, yellow
Black and white
They are precious in His sight.
Jesus loves the little children
Of the world.

Lord, have mercy on the children, all the precious children, all over the world. Bless all the dear children in Mexico. Bless all the dear children in Central America. Bless all the dear children in Syria. Bless all the dear children in Yemen. Bless all the dear children in Russia and China and Korea and Africa.

Bless all the dear children in my family.

Bless all the dear children, all over the world.

Bless all the children in your tender care. Bless all the children you have entrusted to our care for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

Be near me, Lord Jesus. I ask thee to stay, close by me forever and love me, I pray. Bless all the dear children in thy tender care. And take us to heaven, to live with thee there.

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Photo by Robson Hatsukami Morgan on Unsplash

The Light of the World

Many names and phrases have been used to describe Jesus – the Messiah, Savior, Lord, Master, Teacher, Emmanuel (God with Us), the Lamb of God, the Prince of Peace, the Son of God, and the Son of Man. Jesus said, ‘I am the light of the world.’  I love thinking of Jesus as light because his ways are such a dramatic contrast to the darkness of the world. The world seems darker to me now than it ever has; the contrast between Jesus and those who claim to follow him has never seemed starker.

In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. – John 1:4-5

Jesus warned about how bad things would be. He warned of false prophets. He warned of wolves in sheep’s clothing. He said that family members would turn against each other. He warned us to be on guard against deceivers.

I’ve grown accustomed to seeing a lack of reverence for God and Jesus from atheists. God isn’t real to them and the version of Christianity that most of them see isn’t real either. Too many people who claim to follow Jesus are just actors, hypocrites.

Jesus saved his harshest criticism for people who pretended to be righteous. Today, modern-day hypocrites are not just pretending to follow Christ, they are committing blasphemy, insulting or showing a lack of reverence for Jesus Christ, the Word who was with God from the beginning.

Below are some of the most offensive, outrageous words I’ve seen lately on social media. The author suggests that the president is a light, a savior against darkness. The author suggests that because the current Cabinet holds Bible studies, it does not have “complete disdain for everything right, everything good, for anything of God.” But the unrepentant president’s most ardent supporters display disdain for God as they lavish praise on a man who is the antithesis to the one true Light of the World, Jesus Christ.

Already a light has appeared. Just when it seemed the darkest, when evil and corruption were taking over our world and the weak and poor were being trampled on… the most unexpected thing happened. God entered into our world in the most unexpected way.

And even the most casual observer can tell which administration holds weekly Bible studies and which administration had complete disdain for everything right, everything good, for anything of God.

Author – unknown blasphemer

The one true light of the world entered the world in an unexpected way, as a humble, servant leader. The devil offered to give him all the kingdoms of the world and Jesus said no. Instead, he endured ridicule, beatings and death on a cross to demonstrate his love for the world.

The light of the world said that the greatest commandment of all is to ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The light of the world said to do to others as you would have them do to you. He said to love your enemies and bless those who curse you.

The light of the world did not seek revenge against his enemies. He did not make fun of the disabled. He did not try to enrich himself on the backs of his creditors. He did not abuse and demean women. He did not lie.

I write all of this because Jesus is the light of the world. The message of Jesus is love. If what you’re hearing from anyone who claims to be righteous does not reflect light, it is not of God.

God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. ( 1 John 1:5-6)

The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. (1 John 2:4-6)

Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. (1 John 2:9)

Glory to the light of the world.

 

 

 

Here I Am, Lord

Here I am, Lord. It is I, Lord.

I am the woman at the well, a despised Samaritan. You know my secret shame, the mistakes in my past. Yet you, a Jew, spoke to me anyway and asked me for a drink. Day after day, I return to this earthly well for water. You told me about the gift of God – living water. Now I drink from a never-ending spring that leads to eternal life.

Here I am, Lord. It is I, Lord.

I am the woman in the crowd that nearly crushed you. I suffered for years from an affliction no one could see. Bleeding and weak, I touched the edge of your cloak. Your power flowed to my body and I was instantly healed. You knew. I fell at your feet, trembling, as I explained why I touched you. You sent me off in peace. You made me whole.

Here I am, Lord. It is I, Lord.

I am the woman who sits at your feet, eagerly listening to you speak. The worries of the world melt away when I am in your presence. Teacher, show me your ways. Teach me your paths. Other things can wait. You give me all that I need. I hunger and thirst for your righteousness.

Here I am, Lord. It is I, Lord.

You are the true grapevine. I am a branch. You purified me with your love and forgiveness. Your pruned me so I can bear good fruit. Your words remain in me. Your love remains in me. Apart from you, I can do nothing. Apart from you, I am nothing.

Here I am, Lord. It is I, Lord.

You are the shepherd. I am your sheep. I hear your voice. I know you. You lead me beside still waters. You restore my soul. Your rod and your staff comfort me. My cup runs over.

Here I am Lord, Is it I Lord?
I have heard You calling in the night.
I will go Lord, if You lead me.
I will hold Your people in my heart.