New Heart- Rich Mullins

I love this song.  Sure there’s a few cheezy 80’s sound effects.  But they enhance the song for those who are paying attention to the message in the song.

I’ve mentioned that there are times where it’s easy to get proud and think that I’ve come this far on my own strength.  Well, there are those other moments as well… moments that remind me that my strength is weak and my heart is prone to wandering.  Moments where I wonder how God could ever purify me.  How can He possibly separate that wickedness out of me?

Then I remember Jesus and His sacrifice.  I remember that it’s all about Him and I’m only a small player in the story.  And as the Author of all things, He can write whatever He wants to write about me.

I remember that He is faithful, and that He has promised to make something out of me that shines like the noonday sun.

And it’s not just me He does this with, but it’s all of His people who share in His life giving Spirit!

For His glory!!!

New Heart- Rich Mullins (Rich Mullins- 1986)

Let there be no doubt I am the God of all Creation
God of glory and the God of love
And I have called you out, out of the many nations
To be my people so let me be your God

And I will give you a new heart, give you a new heart
Give you a new heart and a new spirit
I will give you a new heart, give you a new heart
Give you a new heart and a new spirit
Your heart of stone I will remove
I’ll put a heart of flesh inside of you
One I can touch, one I can move
And one that beats in time with the truth

So you’re on your way now, well, it won’t be easy going
Still my love is there and it will see you through
For my name’s sake I, I’m gonna make you Holy
So people will see Me when they look at you

And I will give you a new heart, give you a new heart
Give you a new heart and a new spirit
I will give you a new heart, give you a new heart
Give you a new heart and a new spirit
Your heart of stone I will remove
I’ll put a heart of flesh inside of you
One I can touch, one I can move
And one that beats in time with the truth

I will give you a new heart, give you a new heart
Give you a new heart and a new spirit
I will give you a new heart, give you a new heart
Give you a new heart and a new spirit
I will give you a new heart

Everyone Will Believe in Him- John 11

After Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, the Sanhedrin got really worked up.  They knew that things had gone too far.  They said “If we let Him go on like this, everyone will believe in Him”.

While they weren’t inspired when they said this, I can’t help but think that there was some truth in their statement.  If Jesus were to keep on doing His work today, then a lot of people would believe in Him…

So did His body stay in the grave?  No, we know He resurrected.  And we also know that His body remains on this Earth.  That is, the Church remains on Earth.

And His body continues to raise the dead.  His body continues to heal the blind.  But we could do much better.  Obviously not in the physical sense.  But then our call isn’t to fix the temporary.  We are called to the deeper things.

If we were truly living as Christ called us to live, there would be a drastic difference in the world.  There would likely be more persecution of Christians, but more importantly there would be more people freed from the bondage of death.  We do so many good things by His power now, it shouldn’t be hard for us to believe in His power.

Caiaphas told the Sanhedrin in that meeting… “You know nothing at all!  You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”  He didn’t say this because of some craftiness of his own.  He said it because it was a prophesy directly from God.  And I can’t help but think about His body at this point.  While it’s not a prophesy telling us to kill our physical bodies, it was a prophecy about Christ dying for our sins.  And we are His body.

We can’t die for the sins of others.  But in dying to ourselves we can have an impact on this world that continues to shake it as Christ shook it by His death.

The Shepherd in Sheep’s Clothing- John 10

God’s people are a thing sought after.  Some want them for their own, others hate God’s sheep, and still others just hate God.  And I’m sure most of the pursuers are a mixture of all three and then some.  It’s dangerous being a sheep in God’s flock. 

Especially since we’ve all, every one of us sheep, called upon ourselves a slaughtering.  We flirt with our enemies.  We tempt them and make them salivate with the thought of dining on our flesh and wearing our wool.

But we have a Good Shepherd, One who will always fight for us and Who will always triumph.  If we turn away from sin, and listen to His voice, then we will always find safe pasture for our souls.

He is not a hired hand.  Some claim to be defenders of the Church, but when it comes down to their very life being on the line… well, they abandon us just as fast as they can.  I’m guessing they’re not even truly employed, but rather they are something more like mercenaries waiting on wages that were never offered or promised.

Jesus isn’t like them.  Like a mighty Lion, He wages war for His Zion.

There has been a problem created by our actions though.  There is a required payment for our sins.  Jesus is the Good Shepherd, who lays His life down for His sheep.  And because it’s a sheep’s blood that’s required for the sheep’s sins, Jesus took our form upon Himself to satisfy the debt. 

His blood became as our blood, except without the sickness of sin.  He became one of us, and knew our every struggle intimately.  Being found in appearance as a man, the very nature of a servant, He humbled Himself and obeyed death.  And not just death, but death on the cross.  He became the Shepherd in sheep’s clothing, sacrificed.

Some people, not all but some, die for others because they have no choice.  If they’re going to die anyway then they figure they might as well do it for a good cause.  Or maybe, against their own will, their life is taken in place of someone else’s. 

Jesus isn’t like them.  No, Jesus didn’t have to die… ever.  But He layed down His life of His own accord, on our behalf.  And by the same authority given Him to lay it down on our behalf, He took it up and overcame death.

He is the Good Shepherd.

There is a constant blood-lust that hungers for the sheep of God.  But we need not fear the wolf in sheep’s clothing… not when we follow the voice of the Shepherd in sheep’s clothing.

Taking Jesus at His Word (John 4)

When Jesus returns to Cana He is met by a royal official who’s son is dying.  Jesus tells the man that his son will live, and the man takes Jesus at His word.  As the man is on his way home, his servants meet him and confirm that the son is well.

And the whole household comes to believe in Christ.

Today we don’t have the miraculous ability to heal.  But that doesn’t mean that Jesus is not working a miracle in our lives.  Now I’m cautious with the word “miracle”.  It is used in vain way to much.  But to describe how Jesus can take a fallen soul and make it clean again, make it fit for His Kingdom again… that is beyond the things of this creation.  Only God can do that.

So why is it that we are not making such an impact on people when we have all the mighty works God is doing in His people?  Sure it’s up to people to make their own choice about whether to come to Christ or not.

But I’m not wondering why we are not converting people.  I’m wondering why we are not even impacting them.  Why we, the Body of Christ, those filled with the Holy Spirit, play possum in the world and then wonder why they don’t seek God.

If we are to tell the world about Jesus, and how He said that He is the life, then we as His Body need to show that life to the world.  We need to be doing His will.  If we do, they will find confidence enough to take Him at His word.

The truths of God are self evident.  No man is without excuse, because God can be seen in all that He has made.  It is plain to all. 

But we are to be His body, we are to be the salt of the earth.  We need to be a light in a dark place.  We need to be life in a dead place.

Jesus is still miraculously saving men from death.

He still grants life to those who seek Him with their all.  His people need to show the world the truth of that, that they are not dead anymore… that they have risen.

Taken too lightly (John 3)

Reading over John 3, where Nicodemus speaks with Jesus, it’s almost comical to see the lack of understanding that Nicodemus had.  Jesus said a man must be born again and Nicodemus, a teacher, responds with “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born again!”  And then after Jesus explains it, he again asks “How?”

This idea, as well as many many others in Scripture, seem so easy to interpret.  But we also have a couple thousand years of study to work with.  Nicodemus was hearing this concept for the first time.  He had nothing to work with.

But I wonder, are we as impacted by this as Nicodemus was?  We understand the basic principle, but have we taken it to heart?  I fear we haven’t.  I fear we’ve instead written it off as just another thing we understand, without giving it much thought.

Being born again.

It’s not some cheap cliche.  Jesus didn’t use those.  And it’s not some empty philosophy, Jesus didn’t use that either.  No, what we have here is something of great significance.  Something more significant than whatever you’re likely going to do when you finish reading this post.  More significant by far than this post could hope to be.  This was Jesus saying that a man must no longer be who he is.  And not only that, the man must now be someone new.  And at the same time, he will still be himself.  Now it doesn’t sound so cliche, does it?  Wording it that way makes us think, at least a bit more.

A man by the name of Rich Mullins once cried out to God from the depths of his heart…

“Save me from trendy religion that makes
Cheap cliches out of timeless truths!
Lord save me!  Please, save me!”

May we be saved from trendy religion.  May we read the Holy Writ with a childlike wonder.  May we gaze upon the face of God clearly, without the vail of self-righteous piety that keeps us from recognizing just how small we are, and just how much we need every word that comes from the mouth of God.

Have you been born again?