Posts Tagged With: Jesus

Perseverance Song

Why do I keep holdin’ on, holdin’ on to Jesus?

All around these things are slippin’ on and on away.

Both day and night are dark and gloomy, filled with drear.

Jesus’ Name, still makes me want to worship and to pray

‘Til he draws me close and draws me up so very near.

Cause He keeps holdin’ on, keeps holdin’ on to me!

And he’ll keep keepin’ on, keep keepin’ on with you!

 

Why do I keep walking on, keep walking on with Jesus?

Jesus seems to go too fast, and other times too slow

I want to run ahead, but then I got catch my breath with Christ

Where exactly do we plan to let the path to go?

But I’ll let Him pay my aweful, final price,

Cause He kept walking on, kept walking on for me!

And he’ll keep keepin’ on, keep keepin’ on with you!

 

Why do I keep lookin’ on, lookin’ on to Jesus?

I look beyond horizons when skies are lookin’ dim.

I gaze beyond the moonset, when mournin’ ain’t to fun,

But He looked beyond my frets, past the dark within.

He suffered on that cross, though there was no Sun,

Cause He’ll keep looking out, keep lookin’ out for me!

And He’ll keep keepin’ on, keep keeping on with you!

 

Why do I keep standing up, keep standin’ up for Jesus?

I face the roughest storms in the coldest, hardest days.

I’ve climbed the high old hills against the hottest harshest wind.

But he climbed a deadly hill against the hateful storm.

He stood again the third day, so I will stand with Him,

Cause He’ll keep standin’ up, standing up for me!

And He’ll keep keepin’ on, keep keepin’ on with you!

 

Yeah He’ll keep holdin’ on, holdin’ on to you.

Yeah He’ll keep walkin’ on, walkin’ on with me.

Yeah He’ll keep lookin’ out, lookin’ out for you.

Yeah He’ll keep standin’ up, standin’ up for me . . .

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Mental Illness & the Message of God

Dedicated to all my friends & family with “mental health challenges,” myself included.

The beginning was once a mere mystery,
Now it is revealed history.
Wanting the very best, I find my self broken.
Being broken, I offer something more precious than treasure from within.
I pour out grace & wisdom that can’t be measured.
My stigma a sign:
Though curses cross my path, I fear no wrath.
Though you call me crazy, we have Christ’s mind.
With that, let the Word of God be spoken:
“Reorient your life, since the kingdom of God is at work.”

I’m honored to be loosely associated with Jesus, the Son of Man,
humbled to have my prayers answered eventually
in the name of the Son of God.
with a simple heart and much learning in store,
I’m a fool for Christ, though a fool no more.

Ridiculed for following the law that leads to the deep well of freedom.
Crazy enough to believe the truth is personal, universal, and tangible.
Mocked for telling others that life is eternal,
and also light and love in the Father’s family.
Though my faith was a flickering wick,
now the light of Christ is well lit.

Glad to be called a moron for the Messiah.
Happy to be treated as the local village idiot.
Rejoicing to be regarded as demonized
as they regarded the Christ, (John 8:48)
Blessed with the Holy Spirit.

Angry at sin, yet seeking not to.
Care free in the world, yet caring for you.
Liberated by the friend of sinners, I regard weak souls as winners.
The strong shall be shattered the voices mere clatter,
but all that will matter is that the Lord shall appear,
Yes, the One who came as our ultimate Peer,
Yes, the Lord, He is near.

So let love be your bond, and life be your banner.
Let the music go on as the fizzles grow flatter.
May our meds do no harm;
May the angels be our morning alarm.
Yet peculiar people need not fear,
for yes, the Lord, He is near.

Categories: Peer support, Persecution, Poem, Suffering, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No God But One: Book Review

(Disclaimer: I was given an advance copy of this book for review.)

One thing that struck me as I read this book was the compassion and profound insight simply stated. The whole discussion of the book is framed as one would expect to occur between friends who care deeply about each other. Since much of the book reflects the conclusion of faith that Nabeel Qureshi came to as a result of an ongoing dialogue with his debate partner, it should not surprise the reader that the format is somewhat similar to a debate where a question and counter question is posed in each of the dialogues on various topics related to Islam, such as the difference between Islamic law (Sharia) and the grace of God found in the Gospel of Christ.

While this may sound old hat to someone who grew up in the church, when a person discovers that the reality that God is love and all of the diverse implications of this, whether in the arena of theology proper (including the meaning of the trinity and how the doctrine of the trinity is the way of describing God that most honors the Creator) or in the area of an understanding of violence in the history of Islam and the Christian Church (When did Christians start fighting wars? years after they were first called Christians and the empire was converted en masse.)

It becomes very clear through the reading of this book that not only does Nabeel have a clear knowledge of the basic issues related to Islam and Christianity, their similarities and differences, but he also loves both Muslims and Christians. Even though some Muslims may misunderstand the motives for why a truth seeker would embrace Jesus and the church and even though some who grew up with Christian traditions may question whether this is truly possible, Nabeel manifests an irenic spirit throughout, and confesses that he has not always behaved as the best example of Christianity after having chosen to identify with the Lord Jesus.

People need to hear these sorts of questions: questions that are centered not so much on the historic truths of the Gospel, and the verifiable & life transforming factual truths of the crucifixion, the resurrection and Jesus’ claim to deity; rather Questions that are centered on the sincerity and depth of our understanding & obedience to those truths.

Are we willing to seek to truly understand the truth?
Are we willing to suffer for what is true?
How much are we willing to suffer?

The good news is a life and death issue. The Gospel cost Jesus’ His life and frees us from our deadness. When we see the extreme love of God, we will be awakened to delight in our Creator, as a maiden delights in her groom when she realizes that not only is He a noble person, but that he truly does delight in her.

May you be awakened to the First, the Ultimate, the Supreme Love of the Author of Life.

#NoGodButOne

Categories: Book Review, Good News, Islam, Suffering | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Process of Salvation

Jesus is Jesus, for the Lord is our Salvation.
Jesus is predicted throughout the Scriptures, for He our Predestination.
Jesus was conceived in the virgin Mary, for He is our New Creation.
Jesus was greeted by John in the womb, for He is the Father’s Salutation.
Jesus was born in Bethlehem, for He would bring Regeneration.
Jesus and Mary were cared for by Joseph because He is our Adoption by our Father in Heaven.
Jesus was circumcised and later dedicated in the temple, for He is our Sanctification.
Jesus was worshipped by the Magi, for He is the Focus of our Adoration.

Jesus was immersed in water, so we would know Him as our Initiation.
Jesus overcame the temptations of the devil, He brought our Liberation.
Jesus called people to turn from sin, for He is our Correction.
Jesus announced the Kingdom of God, for He is the Lord of all hosts and our Invitation.
Jesus invites us to humble ourselves under His yoke so He can grant us honor, for He is our Instruction.
Jesus showed people the pattern of service before success, for He is our Vocation.
Jesus sent out the disciples on mission trips as He brought Redemption.
When Jesus led groups of His disciples up the mountain, we became His Congregation.
When Jesus raised the dead in Israel, He proved to be our Resurrection.

As Jesus had his last Passover, He offered Himself as our Libation.
When Jesus laid down His Life on the cross, He became our Sure Foundation.
When the sun was darkened, the earth shook & the veil was torn, Jesus proved to be God’s Revelation.
Jesus’s body was laid in the tomb over the Sabbath, for He is our Restoration.
Jesus rose from the grave, for He is our Justification.
Jesus appeared to the missionaries, so He became our Proclamation.
Jesus ascended on high to sit at the right hand of the Father, He for is our Intercession.

When Jesus baptized the Church with the Spirit so we could preach with power from on High, thus He is our Vindication.
When Jesus joined foreigners to the family of Abraham, both Jew & Gentile,
we became a new and true and holy nation.
He will come again to judge the living at the dead, for the Lord is the Source of our ultimate Glorification.

Categories: Good News, Poem, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Coming to the End of Myself, Again.

It’s too much, too, too much.
I long to fly to the desert and escape,
to hide in a cave, far, far away.
I dream of healing a heart that is broken, my own.
of hearing a Voice that touches my deepest wounds.

Broken legs, walk again.
Broken hands, serve again.
Broken mind, think again.
Broken heart, love again.

Chained tongue, speak, be free!
Chained ears, hear, listen!
Shackled mind, explore, discover!
Shackled heart, expand, express!

Closed eyes, see, gaze into glory!
Closed mind, ask, seek!
Closed fist, knock, open wide!
Closed door, open, let the King of Glory enter in!!

Do you see that crown of life?
It shall rest upon your head.
Do you see the Lamb upon the throne?
He is all and enough for you, risen from the dead!
Do you see the book of citizens who live?
The Lord will redeem you just as He said!!

If God is able to save the worst,
then He can save me.
If Jesus can love the least,
then He wlll also love you.
If the Lord can heal to the last,
then He defines eternity!
If the Father is calling,
then He will also listen to you.

Come & rest awhile in His arms.

Categories: Poem, Prayer | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Work & Ways of Jesus.

Jesus gently, faithfully, sov’reignly helps:
drawing us unto Himself.

Jesus gladly, lovingly, graciously saves,
lifting us out of the waves.

Jesus freely, powerfully, joyfully heals
as long as His name is revealed.

Jesus rose again yesterday and always lives:
this is the life that He gives.

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Jesus Loves Members of the Islamic State

I would encourage you to join in prayer for ISIS members. That they, like Saul turned to Paul, would bear the fruit of the Spirit and would be reached in every place of the world where they are operating.

https://files.ctctcdn.com/198b864e001/6acfa5e8-226c-4d65-ba54-a52a6a52a689.pdf

Categories: Persecution, Prayer | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Resurrection

Resurrection praised above the heroes of pagan peoples’ past:
Conquering fears, false confidence, and every sin.
The death prick was plucked out and wounds were healed
through him who was scourged for us and rose again.
Bearing burdens of all who’ve fallen into sin,
Lifting all who start to trust in Him,
He carried the beam outside the gates
and emptied the tomb for those who’d rest
and wait for the First Day to come.
He rose with healing wings
and simple, saving outstretched arms.
Light shines and darkness flees.
The day extends and terror ends.
Soon the nations will bend their knees.

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Pray for your Enemies to Make More Friends

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi needs to become a friend of Jesus.What I mean by the title is not merely that you pray that your enemies be winsome people who get more people on their side. Rather, that we must pray that our enemies would repent in order that they might become our friends. This is a risky way to pray.

It means you may have to leave the comfort of your home, your internet connection and go to meet someone you are scared of face to face. It may mean confronting your persecutors with the standards of the law so that they will be ashamed enough to repent … They may not necessarily repent, but if you pray, and pray faithfully, you may persuade God to persuade them to change their heart.

There is a risk you could lose a fortune on your new friends. You could lose the comfort of financial security. You could lose your health by going to people who are diseased or who intentionally infect you and seek to do you harm. You will at the very least have to spend time you could use making money and spending time with easy friends in order to represent the Kingdom of God in “hostile territory.” Indeed, you could die, without winning any new friends from among your enemies in your own lifetime.

Is it worth it?

Yes … if you do it on behalf of Jesus, completing the sufferings He suffered.

He promised that those who are persecuted for righteousness sake have the kingdom of Heaven which is peace, joy, and righteousness. You just can’t beat that deal. But first pray. Indeed, the beginning of the beatitudes is, “Blessed are those who are beggars in spirit, for theirs IS the Kingdom of Heaven.”

You have the treasures of heaven available, if only you will come before the Throne of God and beg, if only you will obey until you suffer. Wow!!

If you were to ask the Gazan Christians if this was easy, they would tell you that they count it all joy. If you were to ask the observers of the character of Christians who fled terror in Iraq, you would hear that the Christians did not respond in kind with violence, but with kindness. The saints violate the normal tit-for-tat way of doing things by forgiving enemies.

This sounds too hard, you say, too surreal. Let me ask you a question: Would you rather suffer a little in this life, or suffer for all eternity apart from the presence of God?

Take up the cross Jesus hands you, or suffer all loss because you do not understand Jesus.

I hope that as you count the costs, and consider the benefits in the long-term of following Jesus, you will follow Him with a glad heart.

Peace,
Mert Hershberger

Categories: Evangelism, Persecution | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pure Love

Last week we looked at how human relationships should always have a measure of what might be called relative “hate” when compared to the Love we should have for the Lord Jesus. That is, our love for Jesus should be so strong that we are willing to strive with others for the truth. This is a loving thing to do, but some will interpret it as hateful.

There is no need to be contentious, but we should contend for the Good News of Jesus Christ.

So, then what about love, is there no such thing as love? Or, are all relationships marred by “hatred”?

Love is an attractive thing and forms when there is some kind of agreement. We should love God 100%.

This means we should always say God is right and sin is wrong. If we sin, we should love God more than our sin, and confess the truth about our sin. It is a high standard. We all fall short.

To Love God is to hate evil and to delight in wisdom that is pure. It is to do good and pursue peace.

So then, what does love look like in our human relations:

1. It is natural to agree with oneself. If we discover we have made a mistake, we should love ourselves enough to repent and turn from the evil of our hearts. It is assumed that those who are wise will love themselves in this sense. Those who are wise will not prefer themselves over all others. Indeed, the most loving thing is to put others ahead of oneself.

2. We should love our families. While family members may not always agree on everything, we should do the best we can to ensure their well-being. We should share the Good News with our families. To hide the Truth of Jesus from our families is an unloving thing. To let a family member do evil without seeking to speak to them directly about the wrong is to do them a great disservice. They may think you are hating on them when you kindly tell them that they have sinned. But in fact, correction and rebukes are signs of love. So is teaching your children to live godly lives. Training your children how to live in today’s world in a way that pleases the Lord God Almighty and yet is sustainable is a good thing. Providing for family members is a good thing and a sign of love. Those who do not love their family members are worse than unbelievers.

3. We should love one another. That is, we should love other Christians as Christ loved us. If someone identifies as belonging to Jesus, then we should come alongside them and support them and prioritize their wellbeing. In a day and age when the family of Jesus is growing rapidly as new believers are born again all around the globe every day, this could keep us busy all the time. If you find you are “witnessing” to a Christian, the goal must always be to build them up in the most holy faith and to help them draw closer to Jesus and not to be a stumbling block to any Christian unnecessarily. This is done mostly through getting acquainted with saints in your church/congregation or small group. But it should also extend to supporting the persecuted church or training believers in ministry around the world. We must not stop there though.

4. We are to love our neighbor. Jesus made it clear who our neighbor is: anyone we encounter in need, even if we do not know them or necessarily have any ethnic or national or political reason to agree with them. Loving our neighbor means breaking out of the mold and showing kindness to strangers. We must not only greet one another, we must also go to places where there are people who have yet to be greeted in the Lord’s Name. In today’s world where our neighbor may be discovered through a broadcast or website about tragedy in a distant land, the heart is called to expand to a greater degree. Whenever we learn of someone hurting, we should be sensitive enough to feel their pain. Wisdom teaches us not to focus on the problems of the world lest we become insensitized and numb in spirit. PRAY when you watch the news. Pray when you are in public, only in your heart and not for show. Pray wherever you walk. Pray while you study and read. Pray while you watch. God will lead you to your neighbors.

5. We are to love our enemies. You say, this is a tall order … HOW? Does someone offend you? Forgive them immediately and do not hold any grudge. If someone attacks you, pray for them. Do good to them. Show kindness to those who are cruel. May God’s kindness lead them to repentance. It is not enough to restrain from evil, we must bless. Do not return insult for insult. When cursed, blessed. When struck, shake hands. You do not have to invite ruin by aggravating an offended person, simply show kindness and be joyful. You cannot make everyone happy. Do not worry about that. Love anyways. If they hate you and seek to do you harm, that is their business. Bless and do not curse. Encourage them when they are down. This will not be easy. When people see you treat your enemies like this, they will call you a fool. They will say that you have lost your mind. They will say you are mindless. Keep loving. Love is foolish only to fools. Better to be an idiot in the world’s eyes and beloved of the Lord than to be rich in the world’s eyes and destitute of mercy on the last day.

Now you see why loving can seem like hating. If you love your enemies, you will seem to be hating yourself. You may end up dying as you proclaim the Good News of Jesus to the nations.

You may be rejected and poor as you apply the teachings of Jesus.

You will lose all and gain all if you follow Jesus.

In this world, you will count all as loss. In the world to come, you will lack nothing if you lack no love here. To have love, you must give love. God’s love is available to all. It is holy, pure, undefiled by sensual, sexual lust. It is innocent of evil. It is clean and enduring forever. It blazes away evil and shines in the night of wickedness. Stand, and shine the light of God’s love to the world, even the nations at the world’s ends.

For Americans, remember, to love not only America, love those who are assaulting her freedoms and love those who are attacking her people. Love your enemies and be perfect. Go to the nations. Preach the good news of the Lordship of Jesus. Stand against evil and for freedom, even if you must lose your life in the process, but there is no need to take their lives to share the sacrifice of Christ. Love is about giving life, not taking it. Celebrate the victory that is yours in Christ Jesus rather than the wars fought on domestic and foreign soil. Love your enemies.

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