Archive for inspirational

Mirrors

Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , on September 5, 2017 by Stephen Hare

Transcendent Life without end

sent to free us from our sin

that those beneath might live above

with Him who offers boundless love

 

Salvation’s Light in darkness shined

that those who “see” might be made blind

The blind thereby receive their sight

native-born now to the Light

 

Light of truth broke chains that held

by lies enslaved; in darkness dwelled

now image bearers of the Son;

now mirrors of the Risen One

 

Stephen Hare © 12-9-2012

 

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The Sunshine of His Love

Posted in Devotional Corner with tags , , , on July 8, 2014 by Stephen Hare

This morning I woke with the early 70’s song, “Sunshine of Your Love” by Eric Clapton playing in my head.Really strange since I can’t remember the last time I heard the song. Of course, it was a great song when I was caught up in the “Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll” scene during my misspent and wayward youth, but the song really doesn’t hold any present value for me musically or in any other respect – nor do I want it playing in my head.

Fortunately, there is a redemptive “note” to this. It has caused me to reflect on what it might mean to be “in the sunshine of His love”, or in the “light of His (God’s) countenance.” As I consider the amazing grace, kindness and favor that was extended to me to draw me to Himself and that has been bestowed upon me, my thoughts are presently silenced, and my heart is full of praise and gratitude for the love of God toward me in Christ.

Further, what does it mean to be the “sunshine of His love”?

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. “Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

2 Cor 2:14-15 says this, “Now thanks be to God who always causes us to triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.” “For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.” So then, we are “the sunshine of His love”, His “felt” presence in every place.

Prayer:

Lord, please allow me to be so connected with you and in-step with Your Holy Spirit, that I will truly be to You a fragrance of Christ, diffusing the knowledge of Your presence in every place.

Help me to live in the sunshine of Your amazing love forever. Amen.

An Unshakable Kingdom

Posted in Devotional Corner with tags , , on April 13, 2014 by Stephen Hare

Early yesterday morning as I was preparing for work, I found myself considering this passage from the end of Hebrews 12; “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us have grace by which we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.”

 

I wanted to share it, but had to be at work early, so only was able to share some of my thoughts briefly with my son Josh before heading out the door.

 

I find this passage to be very encouraging for a few reasons;

 

First, the writer is clear about the fact that we are presently receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken. When we consider all of the incredible earthquakes, hurricanes, historically adverse weather and other such things, we understand that all the kingdoms on earth can be shaken, and we then also understand and can be sure that the unshakable kingdom we’re receiving is not of this earth.

 

The kingdom we are receiving is God’s kingdom and He is the giver of it, and so we have the assurance that we will receive it – and that He counts us as worthy recipients…royalty. Hard to fathom, considering our beginnings…but therefore all the more glorious. In Jesus’ own words, “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32

 

In light of this, we are instructed to “have grace”. So, how do we acquire this grace then, what is it, and where do we find it? “grace and truth came by Jesus Christ”. We must possess it, but it’s nothing that we can produce on our own. It has been made available to us in the person of God’s own Son, and by way of His atoning sacrifice and His resurrection from the dead.

 

Romans 5:2 tells us that “we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand…”. By virtue of our relationship to Jesus, we have been granted access to the grace that enables and empowers us to live in a way that is pleasing to God “acceptably, with reverence and godly fear”, and we therefore have fellowship with Him, which is what this is all about – what He has desired all along.

 

It’s so good to know that He sees the end result. He sees the fruit, when we can see only the seed that He has planted; so in spite of our own human frailty, weakness and failings, we can put our trust in the One who makes all things new and is preparing a place for us in His kingdom.

 

So much to be said about this passage, but so little time. Have to get ready for work again…

 

Hope you find this as encouraging as I do….Have a great day!

 

 

Wash Over Me

Posted in Lyrics with tags , , , , on April 7, 2014 by Stephen Hare

I would know You, I will seek You

I would hear Lord, as You speak

I am thirsty, I would drink Lord

fill my cup, wash over me

fill my cup – wash over me

I am longing for the greater

things that You’ve prepared for me

but in the longing, there You meet me

what greater thing, Lord, could there be?

What greater thing, Lord, could there be?

Lord break away the chains

of all my yesterdays

Oh give me grace to walk in all Your ways

Make me purer than before, Lord;

my light’s not so bright, that much I can see

make me holy in Your sight, Lord

so that Your Spirit can live in me

so that Your Spirit can live in me!

Lord wash away the stains

of all my yesterdays

Lord, give me grace

to walk in all Your ways

I would know You

I will seek You

I would hear Lord, as You speak

I am thirsty; I would drink Lord

Fill my cup, wash over me

fill my cup – wash over me!

Lyrics and music by Stephen Hare © 2004

To What Does Your Soul Cling?

Posted in Devotional Corner with tags , , on April 5, 2014 by Stephen Hare

“My Soul clings to the dust; revive me according to Your word.” Ps 119:25

“And now why take the road to Egypt to drink the waters of Sior? Or why take the road to Assyria to drink the waters of the river?”

Jer 2:18

Isn’t it so? Our souls cling to the earth and the things of it, but our souls will languish for lack of nourishment if we are drinking from the waters of Egypt.

The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, but our hope is not in the earth, but in heaven. The things of heaven are tied up in God’s word, and it is His word that raises our souls out of the dust from which we came.

David says, “I will eagerly race the way of Your commandments, for You will enable me to do so.” Ps 119:32

This is for us the very picture of faith. It is absolute trust that if I will act in accordance with what God has set forth in His word – what He has told me to do, He will meet me there and enable me to do whatever it is.

It is Abraham going out into the unknown to embrace the unfamiliar because of God’s word to him.

It is David running to meet Goliath; or the priests carrying the ark into Jordan – before the waters parted

The question must become “Will I act according to what I have heard from Him?”

“Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way.” Ps 119:37

Revival in Gods’ way can be seen as a result of the turning of our affections as well as the catalyst. “I have restrained my feet from every evil way.”

It is the focus of the heart that determines our ability to see the kingdom of God – or not. Heavenly vision therefore, requires heavenly affections; and this is where faith and obedience mix.

Will we simply act in faith on what we have heard. We get to choose what we give our attention to, and in the ongoing sense, our affections are determined by the things we give our attention to, and that is what we will ultimately be conformed to; what we will become.

So many years later, and still I am not entirely captured by His brightness. It can’t be about the memory or “shadows” of an event, but the essence and reality of it which is eternal, and not passing.

Praying today the power of the Everlasting One will turn the focus of my affections heavenward, and in the turning, there I will find Him.

Nowhere do the scriptures present the crucified life as optional, but rather, as prerequisite to the risen life that is hidden with Christ in God.

By His grace and power today, we can resist the pull of the dust to which we too readily cling, and begin afresh with new affections for Him and the things of His kingdom.

May the Lord today direct our gaze to the wonders of Himself; that we would marvel and stand in awe of His transcendent life that He stooped so low to offer to us in its every dimension That He will enable not only our minds, but our hearts to “see” and reach again for the risen life that He has made available to us.

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we also have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:1-2

To Whom Are We Obliged?

Posted in Devotional Corner with tags , , , on March 4, 2014 by Stephen Hare

Therefore, brethren, we are debtors – not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live.”  Romans 8: 12-13

This passage makes it clear that we don’t owe our flesh anything. 

We are not under any obligation to perform the deeds that were characteristic of our way of life before we came into relationship with God; to conform ourselves to the former passions that once ruled our minds and our bodies – as when we were entirely ignorant of God and His ways.

“As obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance, but as the one who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written; “Be holy, for I am Holy.” 1st Peter 1: 14-16

The NIV has it this way;    As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.

As Paul said in so many ways throughout his letters, (and specifically in Romans 8)once we have once we have received the Spirit, we are no longer obligated to the flesh to live according to its demands.

However, once we have received the Holy Spirit, we do have an obligation to God to live according to the Spirit that He has given us. In other words, if we have received grace from God to walk in obedience, then we have an obligation to walk in obedience according to the grace that we have received from Him.

Conversely, if we have receive nothing from God, then we are obliged to live according to the flesh, and the result will be spiritual (and physical) death; and not necessarily in that order.

Kind of makes sense, doesn’t it?

Actual mortification (the sanctification by death to the flesh that works its way into our reality experientially, and without which no one will see the Lord) requires us to invite Jesus ( the Holy Spirit) into all of our thought processes continually; not just once in a while, but always at all times “bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (who was obedient to the point of death) and bringing all things that some would consider hidden, to the light, where “all things are laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account.”

Before God, nothing created is hidden, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account. Hebrews 4:3 (CJB)

Being obligated to the flesh is a losing proposition, and leads only to death. But being obligated to God because of the grace He has provided is a marvelous gift that leads to life everlasting.

Prayer: Lord, grant us the wisdom to act according to the grace you have so lavishly supplied in the person of Your Son, Jesus Christ, to whom belongs all glory and dominion, forever and ever. Amen

Be At Peace

Posted in Devotional Corner with tags , , on February 23, 2014 by Stephen Hare

“Now acquaint yourself with Him, and be at peace; Thereby good will come to you. Receive, please, instruction from His mouth, and lay up His words in your heart. If you return to the Almighty, you will be built up; You will remove iniquity far from your tents. Then you will lay your gold in the dust, and the gold of Ophir among the stones of the brooks. Yes, the Almighty will be your gold and your precious silver; For then you will have your delight in the Almighty, and lift u…p your face to God. You will make your prayer to him, and He will hear you, and you will pay your vows. You will also declare a thing, and it will be established for you; So light will shine on your ways. When they cast you down, and you say, “Exaltation will come!” Then He will save the humble person. He will even deliver one who is not innocent; Yes, he will be delivered by the purity of your hands.” Job 22:21-30

For thus says the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall you be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: but you would not. Is 30:15

This passage from Job should inspire hope and confidence in the finished work of God’s redemption.  We are told first to acquaint ourselves with Him and the result will be peace. So how do we find Him who is unseen? Where do we go? We go to the scriptures where we find the record of God, given by His mouth to holy men of His choosing to reveal His nature, character and purpose for all mankind in time and eternity.

John 5:39 says, “…you search the scriptures thinking that in them you will have life, but these are they that testify of Me.”

Verse 22 tells us to receive instruction from His mouth. We are familiar with the passage that says, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”

This passage shows us what returning to the Lord looks like and what the result will be.

“Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the LORD, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.”  Isaiah 55:7

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