Friday, April 8, 2011

Praise: Part Four

Yesterday I posted a few thoughts on remembering the Savior. Today, let's praise Him.

...The Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.
(I John 4:14 KJV)

When my daughter Martina was three, she began asking questions about Jesus and heaven and the big cross outside our church. She never stayed focused on the answers for long, but she kept asking. One day at church while Mark was practicing with the band and I was watching the kids, Martina asked me to read her a book. Its topic was gratitude, and each page had a little rhyme about a girl and her thankfulness for her dog, her grandma's pie and her curly hair. At the end of the book I asked Martina what she would like to thank Jesus for today. She said, “I'd like to thank Jesus for dying on the cross to take away all my wrong choices and give me a home in heaven some day.”

I stared at her for a moment, shocked that she had put such a long and detailed sentence together. I asked her if she would like to thank Jesus right now. “No,” she answered, “I want to crawl under the bench.” Off she went, crawling across the floor in her church dress to play with a toy under the bench. Soon she reappeared, and I asked her again if she'd like to thank Jesus, and this time she said “Yes.” I felt blessed to be present at this moment, and I thought it was beautiful that her first declaration of faith was expressed as gratitude. The more I think about this, the more obvious it seems—when we realize that Jesus is our Savior, of course we respond with thanksgiving and praise!

Jesus' name proclaimed His mission on earth: “Jesus” is our English translation of the Hebrew “Yeshua,” a common Jewish name in Mary's time, meaning “Yahweh is salvation.”Yahweh was the name God used to identify Himself when He promised Abraham that his descendants would bring blessing to the whole earth. The Savior brings salvation.

Most of us probably know these verses very well, but I hope we never lose the wonder of these truths:

For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us! (Romans 5:8)

Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Also through Him, we have obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:1-2)

As soon as sin entered the world, God promised a Savior. The Old Testament books are full of further details on that promise. Here are three of my favorite promises:

On that day it will be said, “Look, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He has saved us. This is the Lord; we have waited for Him. Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.” (Isaiah 25:9)
Surely, falsehood comes from the hills, commotion from the mountains, but the salvation of Israel is only in the Lord our God. (Jeremiah 3:23)
...I will dwell among you, and you will know that the Lord of Hosts has sent Me to you. (Zechariah 2:11)

Your Savior dwells with you. Whatever commotion is surrounding you today, rejoice and be glad in that salvation.

The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom should I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom should I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)
The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord, their refuge in a time of distress.
(Psalm 37:39)
May the Lord be praised! Day after day He bears our burdens; God is our salvation. Selah. (Psalm 68:19)
Come, let us shout joyfully to the Lord, shout triumphantly to the rock of our salvation! (Psalm 95:1)

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