For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God. ... I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever. For great is your steadfast love toward me; you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol. (Psalm 86:10, 12-13 ESV)
Yesterday, we thanked the Lord for the precious relationship we have with Him as our Abba- our Heavenly Father.
Today we are thanking the Lord that He sent Himself to us as Jesus. Now, let me give a disclaimer. People much smarter than me have written tomes with five syllable words explaining the Trinity. I will not attempt that in a blog post.
I will say simply that I believe in the triune nature of God. He is Father to me. He is Savior. And He is Holy Spirit. As water is water whether liquid, steam, or ice, I believe God is God in all His relationships with me. I am grateful for each one.
His Name Is Jesus
I am particularly grateful for Jesus. He is the incarnation of God and the best example of how very much we are loved. Why else would the eternal God of creation humble Himself, voluntarily live in the limitations of flesh, and then satisfy His own holy nature of justice by dying the death I deserved? As the hymn says, “How can it be?” It can only be because of love.
I am grateful that God had the plan for our salvation while Adam and Eve still stood shame-faced in Eden. The Messiah is repeatedly prophesied, like this verse in Isaiah:
- For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6 ESV)
Jesus physically demonstrates the reality that our Lord is Immanuel: God with us. All this next month we will be praising God for the many ways He is with us. But Jesus is the actual embodiment of the truth that God WANTS to be with us. He is divinely wrapped in flesh and blood so that our feeble hearts can grasp Him better.
- All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel" (which means, God with us). (Matthew 1:22-23 ESV)
Jesus not only came to us, but He also brought with Him grace and truth, in fact He was overflowing with these. Because He completed the task His Father gave Him, we can now receive this grace as a gift.
- And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. ... For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. (John 1:14, 16 ESV)
Jesus came willingly in the face of the prophesy of great physical grief. He would be despised and rejected by the very ones for whom He came (that would be you and me.) It was all for us. Because He was willingly smitten, afflicted, pierced, crushed, and wounded, we are healed. Is there anyone else in your life that loves you that much?
- He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:3-5 ESV)
We can not make too much of the fact that He VOLUNTARILY took on every moment of sorrow. At any moment, He could have called angels to His aide, but He did not.
- Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? (Matthew 26:52-53 ESV)
And if all that is not enough over which to express thanks, we can remember that in Jesus God gives us the victory- over death, over condemnation, and over the guilt and shame that would weigh us down.
- But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57 ESV)
Although the list of what to be grateful about is innumerable, I will end with this one. Jesus gives us the perfect example of how to live: not grasping and selfish, but rather humble, servant-hearted, and obedient to the Father, even to the point of death. Can you imagine if we all lived that way? Christians, it is time for us to bag the excuses and look to the perfect example we have on HOW to live the Christian life. And let's start by thanking God for all He has done and continues to do through Jesus.
- Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:5-8 ESV)
As we begin our prayer of gratitude, let’s do so in light of the rest of the Philippians passage. Let’s declare that Jesus is Lord to the glory of the Father!
- Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11 ESV)
My dearest Jesus- how can I begin to thank You? I confess I take You and all You have done for me for granted. I ask for Your forgiveness. I can hardly believe how extravagantly You love me and I am acutely aware of how undeserved that love is. Yet, You endured the cross for me. Thank You.
Thank You for willingly entering into my reality here on earth and facing the firestorm of rejection and hatred and injustice that eventually sent You to the cross. Thank You that You came KNOWING that is what You would face.
Jesus, I am so grateful that everyday You bear my griefs and carry my sorrows. Where would I be without You? You could have been far off, but instead You are my Immanuel- You are God WITH me. Thank You for being with me. I need You every moment of every day.
Thank You for enduring the cross, when You could have wiped out all Your accusers with one look of Your eye. Thank You that when You could have called legions of angels to protect You, You instead submitted to injustice to satisfy the Father’s holy righteousness on my behalf.
With all You have done for me, "thank You" seems insufficient to say, but in the absence of better words, THANK YOU for the salvation Your death on the cross brings me. I am healed by You wounds and my gratitude exceeds my understanding.
I could praise You all day and never come to the end of the benefits of knowing You. Jesus, I am so grateful You desired to be with me. I love You with every fiber of my being. Lord, please help me live in a way that shouts Your name to everyone I meet.
We have an amazing Savior. His name is Jesus! Let's say His name over and over today. Let's live in light of His great love for us.
And every time He comes to mind today let's stop and THANK HIM for all that He is for us. We can never come to the end of the praise.
- And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17 ESV)
Receive these prayers every morning of January, 2018, in your email. I promise you will be blessed to know your Lord better, because He is amazing!