dickmoes

Jun 112013
 

 

But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

 

1 John 2:1

 

 

 

 

 

Our deepest problem is our sin, for our lives no longer fulfill God’s purpose. We no longer honor him, we no longer love him with all that is in us and we no longer love our neighbor with all that is in us either. The law of God shows us this purpose of God for our lives. This law points us to the way of life where we receive the room to really have our lives blossom and flourish. But no sinful human being ever succeeded in perfectly embodying the commandments of this law of love and freedom.

 

 

 

None is righteous, no, not one.

 

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

 

Romans 3:10, 23

 

 

 

But fortunately there is more to the story, for the gospel is not that we are all sinners, but that Jesus is righteous and that his righteousness becomes ours when we receive him in faith as our Lord and Savior.

 

 

 

For Jesus did not sin. Jesus’ life flourished and blossomed within the loving and free confines of the law. Jesus traveled the road of life. He himself articulates this in this manner:

 

 

 

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. . . .  whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

 

Matthew 5:17, 19

 

 

 

Jesus kept the commandments and taught others to do the same. That’s why he is great in the kingdom of heaven. In fact, no one is greater than he because he is the righteous one!

 

 

 

It is the wonderful exchange that took place on the cross that makes my life meaningful again because there Jesus took my unrighteousness upon himself and chose to give me his righteousness.

 

 

 

[all] are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

 

Romans 3:24

 

 

 

And there is no end to my happiness, for if I know Jesus as the righteous, and when I receive him as my Lord, then I am adopted by God as righteous because Jesus lives in me:

 

 

 

But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

 

Romans 8:10

 

 

 

 

 

Jesus, you are righteous. What I can never be of myself, that is what you are for me. I worship you because you kept the law, because you modeled the way of true life, because you make your righteousness my own. Thank you, Lord Jesus. Thank you that my sins are washed away by your righteousness.

 

 

 

 The meditation on this page is written by Jos Douma and translated by Dick Moes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 082013
 

  Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

Luke 6:36

Mercy is about warm-heartedness. God the Father and his Son have a warm heart for people, especially for people in need. And who among us is not someone in need?

 

The Old Testament uses the word rachum for mercy, a word that is closely related to the word rechem. The latter word means womb or uterus. It’s the place where new life originates, where a baby grows. We connect that place with intimacy, with loving union and with the unbreakable bond of love between a mother and her child. Thus, when we speak about the mercy of the LORD, then we are drawing attention to his motherly feelings for his children, for our LORD is a Father with a heart that is full of motherly love.

 

If we want to see this mercy of the Father, then we need to focus on Jesus. We taste his mercy when we read:

 

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Matthew 9:36

And in the Song of Zechariah we hear these beautiful words that witness to the mercy of God that can be experienced in his Son:

 

. . . because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Luke 1:78-79

This is how the warm mercy of the Lord enters our lives through Jesus. And when we follow the path of that mercy, looking for the way of light and peace, we will begin to discover, thanks to the Spirit, that we too can grow in obedience to Jesus’ command that we are to be merciful as God is merciful.

 

Jesus’ loving heart will touch our hearts and mercy, heavenly mercy will begin to flow. We will begin to experience that Jesus had us in mind too when he said:

 

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

Matthew 5:7

 

Jesus, you are merciful. I want to praise you because I can see the Father in you, the LORD, who as a Father has so much motherly love for his children. Warm me and everyone else with your mercy so that I myself can  follow the path of mercy. Create in me a heart that is moved with compassion.

 

The meditation on this page is written by Jos Douma and translated by Dick Moes.

Mar 252013
 

 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”

Matthew 28:18

We should never think too little about what Jesus Christ is able to do. Time and again, it’s important to let this sink in. It’s glorious to be able to know Jesus as a human being. He really was one of us, very near, someone you could identify with. But if we do not move beyond this, then we turn him into a small Christ, a Jesus who is only close to us and suffers with us. There is so much more to Jesus for he is also almighty!

 

During the years Jesus was here on earth this shone through, of course. He healed the sick, he drove out demons and he stilled storms. And his creative power especially became visible in the miracle of the loaves and fish that just kept multiplying while he was distributing them. In this bread-breaking Jesus we encounter the almighty God.

 

This is how we also get to know him in Paul’s letters, where he speaks about the significance of Christ for heaven and earth:

 

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

Colossians 1:15-17

At the beginning of the book of Revelation, Jesus also introduces himself in his greatness and power:

 

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Revelation 1:8

This is how we learn to have a high view of the great power and majesty of Jesus Christ:

 

Who is this King of glory?
The LORD, strong and mighty,
the LORD, mighty in battle!

Psalm 24:8

What a powerful God he is! When I focus on this in my worship, then my heart opens up again as I reflect that in my own powerlessness and inability, in all of my own weakness and feebleness I can know a Lord—who once was also weak!—who is able to do immeasurably more than I ask or think. And I will discover:

what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might.

Ephesians 1:19

Jesus, you are almighty. You are so strong, so powerful, so full of majesty! You performed miracles and still do them. You hold the whole world in your hand. Teach me not to focus on my own weak strength and to be open for your almighty presence in my life and in the lives of all people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mar 182013
 

. . . but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

1 Corinthians 1:24

In one way or another Jesus’ wisdom speaks to me more than his other virtues, for life is continually about seeking wisdom. We need wisdom to be able to take decisions, make choices and be able to respond well to what comes at us. We need wisdom in our relationships, in our thought processes, in our conflicts and in our vision for the future of the church. Where do we find this wisdom?

 

This wisdom is more than just having sufficient information and knowledge in order to be able to consider the pros and cons. It is also more than clear insight. Wisdom is, first of all, a person: Jesus! Wisdom also has everything to do with love. Only when we bring our questions and problems and uncertainties into Jesus’ loving relationship with us, will we slowly discover what true wisdom is.

 

More and more I discover the truth of Christ being God’s wisdom for us. And I increasingly understand these precious words of the apostle Paul:

 

[I struggle] that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Colossians 2:2-3

All wisdom hidden in Christ! That means the more I focus on him, the more intensively I worship him, the more wisdom I will possess in this life here on earth. This sounds very promising. And so I pray with Psalm 90:

 

So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.

Psalm 90:12

This is how I try to walk in the footsteps of Lady Wisdom:

 

Hear, for I will speak noble things,
and from my lips will come what is right,
for my mouth will utter truth;
wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
All the words of my mouth are righteous;
there is nothing twisted or crooked in them.
They are all straight to him who understands,
and right to those who find knowledge.
Take my instruction instead of silver,
and knowledge rather than choice gold,
for wisdom is better than jewels,
and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.

Proverbs 8:6-11

Jesus, you are wise! All the treasures of wisdom are hidden in you. And I want to believe with all my heart that you are God’s ultimate wisdom. Make me wise, be my wisdom, and allow me time and again to enjoy your insights for living taken from your own insight and knowledge. How precious is your wisdom! How precious you are, Lord, you who are my wisdom.

 

The meditation on this page is written by Jos Douma and translated by Dick Moes.

Feb 242013
 

Answer me, O LORD, for your steadfast love is good;
according to your abundant mercy, turn to me.

Psalm 69:16

Jesus is good! This virtue reminds me of what I read about the creation of heaven and earth in the first chapter of Genesis. There I read that everything God had made was good. Everything was whole, everything was matched and everywhere there was peace and perfection.

 

And God saw that it was good.

Genesis 1:10

And on the sixth day, when God oversees his whole work of creation, he even says that what he has made is very good. Unfortunately, it did not stay this way. Good became bad because of sin. Good became a word that reminds us of something that once was. And yet, the word continues to be used because the LORD is gracious and good. He is a God full of abundant mercy.

 

To know that above all wickedness the name of the LORD can always be mentioned simultaneously with goodness and grace keeps us human beings going. In the midst of badness goodness can still be experienced when we look to Jesus. We can call upon him. We can ask him to answer because he is good, i.e. gracious and full of mercy. That is what I call really good.

 

This is how the goodness of Jesus shines in the Word of God.

 

Good and upright is the LORD;
therefore he instructs sinners in the way.

Psalm 25:8

For the LORD is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

Psalm 100:5

Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good;
sing to his name, for it is pleasant!

Psalm 135:3

Jesus is good! The more I allow this to sink in, the more I will be convinced of this goodness, and the more I will realize that his goodness increasingly becomes mine. The grace he radiates will also color my life. Whenever I ask, he will turn to me. And his mercy will form itself into gentle mercy in my life. For he is good!

 

Jesus, you are good, so completely good, so thoroughly perfect and so full of peace. Thank you that in the midst of so much brokenness and imperfection and wickedness we can always look to you to be reminded of the goodness that is inherent to your nature and that was inherent to this creation and that is and will be inherent to the new life.

The meditation on this page is written by Jos Douma and translated by Dick Moes.

 

 

Feb 112013
 

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Hebrews 13:8

When I get to know Jesus, I come into contact with his eternity. Of myself, I do not have much feeling for this, for I live in time. This is something I just cannot escape. I simply am unable to reach beyond time. But if I want to get a taste of eternity, i.e. of the life that is not subject to time, then this can happen through admiring Jesus as the eternal one.

 

Certainly, as a man he temporarily lived on earth. He was born, he lived, he gave his life on the cross and after his resurrection, he returned to heaven. Yet, in this human Jesus, eternity touched this temporal world. And if we look very intently, we will see that eternity is a life that is completely focused on God, a life that has value for eternity and a life that is drenched with the Spirit.

 

Sometimes this is said in this way: eternity is not a quantitative concept, but a qualitative one. Quantitative has to do with a quantity, in this case a certain amount of time, infinitely much time, time that never comes to an end. Of course, I believe this, but as a human being I cannot imagine what it will be like to live forever so that my life never ends.

 

Qualitative is about a unique kind of life. This refers not so much to an endlessly long life, but more to a very special kind of life, a beautiful, very profound, very divine kind of life that has value for eternity. Jesus himself, speaking about himself, articulates this in this way:

 

. . . since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

John 17:2-3

Jesus is able to say this because he possesses eternal life and is the eternal one:

 

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.

Revelation 22:13

This is how I can learn to praise and honor Christ for his infinite beauty and his eternal goodness!

 

May his name endure forever,
his fame continue as long as the sun!
May people be blessed in him,
all nations call him blessed!

Psalm 72:17

 

Jesus, you are eternal! You are the beginning and the end, the alpha and the omega, the first and the last. Only the life that you give has value for eternity. Teach me to get to know you more and more so that your eternal life increasingly can flow more powerfully in my life.

 

 

 

Jan 212013
 

 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 8:12

Light. It’s a very powerful metaphor and thus a very powerful name for Jesus. I see the light of the sun, the light of a burning fire, the light of a lantern in a dark night, the light that awakens on an early spring day.

 

Light has so many forms in our world, but only Jesus can say: “I am the light.” That is a tremendously far-reaching statement with which Jesus says a lot about his uniqueness.

 

Light. It’s an important theme in the whole Bible. Everything begins with it:

 

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

Genesis 1:3-5

The prophets use their words to create light in dark times:

 

The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shined.

Isaiah 9:2

But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings.

Malachi 4:2

In Jesus, the glorious Son of God, light shines to the full:

 

I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.

John 12:46

The more I see Jesus and experience the light of life, the more I will also walk in the light myself and the more I will be a child of the light myself. Indeed, through the Spirit, through whom I worship Jesus as the light of the world, I can make these words my own:

 

You are the light of the world. Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 5:14, 16

Jesus, you are the light of the world. When I let your glorious appearance sink in, then that overpowers me. Where there is darkness, you make light. Where people live in your light, they begin to shine a bit themselves. Jesus, you are the source of light. In your light we see light.

The meditation on this page is written by Jos Douma and translated by Dick Moes.

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 132013
 

 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

Hebrews 4:15

What does a high priest do? For an answer to this question I need to imagine myself being in a worship service of the ancient people of Israel in the temple. That’s where priests did their work. Their main tasks were bringing sacrifices for the sins of the people, praying for the people and, in this way, standing between God and his people. The high priest had the privilege of entering into the holy of holies behind the veil where the ark, the ultimate sign of God’s holy presence, was located, once a year.

 

Jesus is our only and unique high priest. He did not bring sacrifices, but sacrificed himself. He always prays for us. He eternally is the one who stands between God and us so that we can be united to our Father in him.

 

The beautiful thing about Jesus as high priest is that he is not far from us, but that he knows us very well. He sympathizes with our weaknesses because he himself also experienced them when he was here as a human being on earth. He was tested just like we are often tested. But he never sinned when he was. This is why he can be our perfect and eternal high priest.

 

It’s great to know him for I never have to pay for my own sins because he has done that for me. I never have to be afraid that my prayers are inadequate, for he always prays for me. That’s why I want to know and admire him as my high priest. And I rejoice over these words, that I want to make my own, so that they give me much certainty and comfort:

 

Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession.

Hebrews 3:1

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.

Hebrews 4:14

For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.

Hebrews 7:26

Jesus, you are the high priest. This is how I want to confess and admire you for I know for sure that I do not have to save myself because you saved me through your sacrifice, and because I know for sure that my stammering prayers are perfected through your prayers. I want to praise you for your holiness, your innocence and your purity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 092013
 

 

This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

Acts 4:11-12

Stones. You have them in all shapes and sizes. We build houses with them. These houses need a good foundation otherwise they will sag and ultimately collapse. For the houses in ancient Israel the cornerstone was of fundamental significance. That’s why it was chosen with the utmost care.

 

In the Bible Jesus is called the cornerstone. He was carefully chosen by God to be the cornerstone of his building on earth: the church. But during the time Jesus was on earth, there were many who did not see his qualities of cornerstone. According to them, you could not build on Jesus. Especially the leaders of the people thought and said this.

 

But God himself has a different view. And also the children of God have a different view. They see Jesus Christ as the precious cornerstone of the congregation. This cornerstone is the foundation of the church. This cornerstone provides the coherence in this beautiful building with which God’s Spirit is busy.

 

This is how I want to know Jesus. Knowing that he can also be a stone of offense or stumbling, I want to worship and revere him as the precious cornerstone of God. Without him the congregation of which I am a member has no foundation and no coherence. Without him my whole life is nothing but quicksand.

 

And I allow Peter’s words—called a rock by Jesus himself—to sink in so that I can see even better who Jesus is for me:

 

As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 2:4-5

And I see before me what is said about this cornerstone, because I know myself to be called together with the whole congregation to live to the glory of the Lord:

 

[Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone] in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

Ephesians 2:21-22

Jesus, you are the cornerstone. Thanks to you there is a foundation and coherence for God’s work on earth. I praise you because you are the cornerstone of the building of which I myself may be a living stone. I want to commit myself to you with all my heart, with all my soul and with all my strength.

Dec 312012
 

 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.

Hebrews 1:3

I’m always wondering who God is. He is so great and powerful. He is so lofty and majestic. He is so everywhere and nowhere. He is so deep and near. I can only look with wonder and amazement when I try to imagine who the LORD is. And I understand when I see that in the Bible time and again people fall to the ground as if they were dead when they encounter the glorious splendor of the LORD. For who can see the LORD and live?

 

But when I read about this in the Bible, I always hear those words: “Fear not!” And these words are all the more powerful because Jesus has come. He made God visible and accessible for us mortal beings. He put a face to the Creator whom we could not know because he is an unfathomable mystery and lives in an unapproachable light.

 

And when I then hear that in Jesus Christ God’s glory shines and that he is God’s image, then my heart jumps for joy. God no longer is at a distance, unknowable and inaccessible. In Jesus he has become visible and perceivable. And I allow myself to be impacted by the fact that the God who reveals himself in the Old Testament as Yahweh meets me in the New Testament in Jesus. What did Jesus say again?

 

If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.

Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.

John 14:7, 9

If it is really true that Jesus is the image of God—and it is true, because the Bible says so—then I can apply everything that is said about God in the Old Testament to the Son of God. And this gives wonderful opportunities to worship Jesus with the Psalms!

 

But you, O LORD, are a shield about me,
my glory, and the lifter of my head.

Psalm 3:3

You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.

Psalm 16:2

The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock,
and exalted be the God of my salvation.

Psalm 18:46

For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
the LORD bestows favor and honor.

Psalm 84:11

Jesus, you are God’s image. What a privilege that I can see God’s glory shine in you and that I may worship you as the Lord of heaven and earth, as the creator of all there is, as my sun and my shield. Thank you that I may know that I, when I see you, see the Father. LORD Jesus, you are God!

 

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