Pardon Me

Before The Throne of God Above

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea.
A great high Priest whose Name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart.
I know that while in heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free.
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.

Behold Him there the risen Lamb,
My perfect spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
King of glory and of grace,
One in Himself I cannot die.
My soul is purchased by His blood,
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ my Savior and my God!

Watch and listen (computer only) here:  http://youtu.be/yoPyLcY6Zv4

thank you JD!

posted by:  Mark Cruver

A Desert with Rainbows

“Then Moses said to him, ‘If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.'”  Exodus 33:15

It’s hard to imagine what it might be like to live in the desert.  Hot sun, tents, blowing sand — talk about the essence of being uncomfortable.  And yet, the people of Israel trekked through these conditions on their way to the Promised Land.  They were well prepared for this journey.  Although, along the way, they lost sight of the Lord God.  It’s a story with which we are very familiar, but tucked away within this epic journey was a relationship.  And, to what end do we understand this relationship between Moses and the Lord?  When he was an infant, Moses was perhaps the baby, “Most Likely Not To Live” — how many babies do you know that’s taken an unattended basket ride down the Nile River and lived to cry about it?  But through it all — against all odds — Moses had truly become a man of God, one who heard His mighty voice, seen His glory and witnessed His Almighty hand.  Moses was charged by God to lead . . . to lead the nation to the Promised Land, but without ever seeing it himself.

It was during this journey when God spoke to Moses and encouraged him to continue on the journey, but that He (God) would not be going with them.  Instead God would send an angel ahead of them.  Moses could not fathom what life would be like outside of fellowship with God.  For him, this was no option!  Moses chose the desert over reaching the Promised Land if it meant he must go without the Lord God.  Mighty things came from this decision.

This morning has been a sad morning for me.  Thinking of my own life in the desert I wonder how much I’m drinking from the well of others.  His springs of Life in our daily desert satisfies because of our sole dependence in Him and Him alone.  I get my thirstiest during moments when I sip life from a canteen instead of from His spring.  When I look for hope … comfort … love … acceptance … my way.  I look for these things in those that surround me and my circumstances and I crumble.  It’s the wrong foundation on which to stand — it’s not Hope, Comfort, Love, Acceptance, nor is it His Way!

May I learn each day to rest in the Hope that He gives through Him, enjoy the Comfort in His loving arms of grace, adorn the Love with which He freely showers me, believe that He Accepts me just the way I am and most of all . . . may I learn to Trust in Him!

This morning, opposite the sunrise in the western sky — without rainclouds, I saw a rainbow.  God wanted me to see that rainbow this morning!  It was a reminder that His promises are True and Everlasting.

Rainbows are possible, even in the desert!

by:  Mark Cruver

Comment on What To Preach To Yourself Everyday by Recommended Articles For September | Gospel Glory

Behaving better is never an indication of Spiritual growth, but instead, believing better in the One who lives inside you will change your behavior. It will come from the love born out of living through Him.

by:  Mark Cruver

Art of Renew

“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”  II Corinthians 3:18

I’m not sure if you have noticed recently, but there is an art of renew!  You don’t believe me?  Look on Pinterest for just a minute and you’ll see what I mean.  There’s an art to re-purposing old things, sprucing them up and giving them a new home.  It’s become an art!

We have this pretty extensive garden where I work and there’s a lot of what I would call, yard art!  The other day this U-haul pulled into the parking lot carrying a number of items the owner had purchased to be delivered intended to go into the garden.  I was nominated to help unload — no problem.  It was not as I expected.  The stuff in there was old — and I mean like, wood rotting kind of old — aged would be an understatement.  I thought to myself, “this stuff is ready for the burn pile!”

I couldn’t help but wonder where in the garden old crudy stuff was going to look good.  Since then, they’ve taken these trellis’, arbors and benches, sanded them and applied a fresh coat of weather proofing stain and all I can say is WOW!  They look fantastic!  They truly are reflecting the work of their carpenter and now ever-increasingly!

But this process . . . this process of renewal.  This period of transformation is anything but pleasant.  Would it look any different if we were talking about the art of renewing how we feel, what we think or even what we do (how we behave)?  There is a difference, but the art is the same!  When we begin to apply the principles of renewal to ourselves personally, our minds tend to lean towards thinking something like, “I’m a lot like the carpenter re-purposing a trellis for the garden.”  When, in fact, it may be closer to the truth if we took a look at identifying more with the trellis itself.

The challenge for us here is when we identify ourselves with the trellis we immediately think, “How in the world am I going to sand and stain myself?”  And that’s just it!  It’s not of yourself.  You can’t — but He can!

The process of renewal begins with a willingness to be sanded and stained by the Carpenter!  There is nothing we can DO to become MORE like Him — Christ IS our life!  But, along the journey of life something happens, our joints loosen, our skin dries out and cracks, our structure weakens with age.  We see ourselves as we think most others see us as worn and no good — unworthy of our original design.  And until someone comes along and looks beyond the dirt, the wear, the age will we then be reminded of who we really are!   When the Spirit reminds you and your heart surrenders to the sanding, you become Art of Renew!

You see, we allow ourselves to be thrown on the discard pile – we believe the lies about ourselves – because of the crud in our lives – our pasts.  We think we have no further purpose or value to anyone and we believe the lie!  But let me tell you, God, the Great Carpenter, has never forgotten His purpose for your original design.  So like that trellis, “Be still and know that I am [He is] God.”

Allow the Master’s hand to sand and stain so that through you, His glory will reflect ever-increasingly!

by:  Mark Cruver

A Prayer for Wisdom and Strength When Facing Temptation

With the fact that I’m currently reading on the power of prayer, Scotty Smith summarizes the hearts and minds of men and women everywhere in the face of temptation. Call on the power of God, in the name of Jesus for strength. The reward in the power of trusting Him far outweighs the regret of believing the lies in temptation.

by:  Mark Cruver

The Meaning of Leaning

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”  Proverbs 3:5-6

I recently went to one of my son’s cross country meets to watch him run.  To my amazement at the starting line, besides him were what I could only estimate close to 200 other guys in his category lined up.  There must have been a million dollars alone on the feet of all those runners!  The chatter among parents and coaches before the race revolved around the mere numbers and the difficulty the runners may find in spreading out early enough in the race before the path narrows.  Some 17 minutes later the first runner crossed the finish line — challenged, but not phased by the course.  He owned it.  What caught my attention were the runners crossing the finish line near the 33 minute marker.   The last 100 yards was clearly nothing they wanted any part of.  It brought new meaning to … “press on!”  I watched as these athletes crossed the line — the end — the final moment of the race for them and staggered to keep themselves upright.  Many of them would fall to the left, get up only to fall to the right.  Their bodies were refusing to listen to their mind and exhaustion had sapped every ounce of ability to stand on their own.  Without hesitation, helpers would get on both sides of them and lend their own bodies to work on their behalf.  The athlete had no choice but to lean on their person of rescue.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could do that with God?  Wouldn’t it be the best if we could actually “have no choice but to” lean.  Instead, we look at ourselves and say, “My legs are working — I’m gonna take it from here.”  And this is how we tend to go about our lives — training ourselves to lean unto our own reality, lean on our own perceptions, lean on our own knowledge and then we wonder why our “legs” don’t work, or our “minds” won’t stop and our behavior won’t change.  When our eyes are fixed only on ourselves, our hope in life becomes unstable.  It becomes a brick used in the construction of our life.  It appears pretty strong, feels pretty durable, but even the strongest brick placed on a foundation set on sand will crumble.

We train our soul to lean one of two directions.  Unlike natural reality where there is a North, South, East and West to determine direction, in our spiritual reality there is only two directions . . . He and Me!  The magnet of our soul turns the compass of our hearts to trust in one or the other.  Unfortunately, many of us choose throughout our every day to follow the arrow on our compass to follow Me!  When we move in this direction and place our trust in the ways of this world, absent Christ in our daily walk, our lives are filled with hopelessness.  But when we follow the compass of our hearts to follow Him — to trust completely upon Him in EVERYTHING, our soul begins to learn to habitually lean on Him.  He came so that we might have Hope! (Romans 15:4)

I don’t know about you, but this is where I want to be every minute of everyday.  Like the athlete who on his own barely crosses the finish line, I want Christ to become my “legs,” my “arms,” my ALL!  I want the magnet of my soul to, without question, habitually lean toward He every time!  When this happens, God says, “thank you!”  Because until we surrender ourselves to Him completely our needle will still be pointing to Me and not He.  I’ve got to let Him every minute!

Let He, not Me . . . that’s the meaning of leaning!

“Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever.”  Psalm 125:1