I’m being so blessed by Justin Rizzo’s Found Faithful album right now. It ministers the Word of God so powerfully and with such density. Nearly every word sung is scripture; the presence of God is just all over it.
In a major diversion from my comfort zone of writing very methodically and deliberately, I’m just going to blog my stream of consciousness as I listen to the album, much like someone would blog a political debate with on-the-fly commentary. Only this will be much more edifying.
So, hopefully you’ll be blessed by what the Spirit stirs in me as we fellowship.
“The Lord reigns; He is clothed in majesty… He’s mightier than the thunder, mightier than the waters of the sea. The Lord on high is mighty.” (Ps. 93)
If anyone has witnessed the sheer power of a stormy sea, or even water in general (check out the Grand Canyon!), this is quite the comparison. I was able to see some of Katrina’s damage first hand and it was quite sobering. Isn’t it comforting to know that if He is for us, nothing can be against us?!
“Your glory will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea…” (Hab. 2:14)
This is our hope. This is what we hang our hat on. Christ is returning and with Him a wave of glory will crash upon the earth like the world has never before witnessed. The early believers were constantly exhorted to not lose hope because of this promise: Jesus is returning and will set everything in order.
“This is reality: You’re coming to reign on the earth. And the increase of your government will know no end.”
I love these lines. We need to constantly remind ourselves of what is true reality. It’s not our faltering economy; it’s not the AIDS epidemic; it’s not poverty and hunger. Yes, these are real problems that require real resources and real attention. But they aren’t our most core reality. What is unseen is more real than what is seen. And reality is that the kingdom of God, which will manifest fully when Christ returns, is already within us and the hope and blessing of His kingdom can be released here and now. Our reality as sons and daughters of the King can override present, temporary circumstances we encounter.
“And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, ‘Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!’” (Rev. 19:6)
I’m so stirred with hope when I read passages like these from the book of Revelation. My love and passion for Revelation continues to grow as I realize what a story of overcoming it is. Jesus reigns! He’s the victor and we are His people! We will not be overcome but we will triumph and join in the celebration of the ages as we the Bride are betrothed to the Lamb. The reality of this still feels distant and a little out of my reach at this point, but the excitement and anticipation of it is there nonetheless.
“I want to be unmovable and unshakeable. So let my roots go down deep. And I will be like a tree planted by streams of living water.” (Ps. 1:3)
I remember New Year’s Day several years ago reading Psalm 1 and being transformed by it as 2 & 3 became my verses for the year. It became probably the most meaningful declaration over my life as I entered a whole new season of growth with the Lord. He’s been so faithful to do His part and birth the reality of these verses in my life as I’ve sought to honor Him and His Word
“As I see the height from which you reign and the depth to which you came. And as I see the height to which you brought me and the depth to which you save. I will praise you. I will love You with all of my heart. And I will thank you forever and ever.”
Profound. If I had just a thread more revelation about what Christ gave up to become the suffering servant and our savior, I’d never live the same.
“I want to be found faithful. I want to be found steady. I want to be found faithful to the end. I want to live before your eyes. I want to stay before your gaze. Just keep me steady.”
My heart’s cry. My longing. I’ve shared with a few people recently that the greatest fear I hold in life is not reaching my full potential in the Lord. In many ways this fear is rooted in pride, because I have the wrong perspective and think it’s mostly on me to walk this out. Thankfully it’s not all on me. It’s all about having our focus set upon Jesus.
“Indwelling spirit; I’m not alone. Indwelling spirit; I’m not my own… You have not left me here alone. But what you’ve done is given me the ability to choose you.”
I simply love this song. It’s wrecking me and is the reason I’ve gotten so hooked on this album.
“Come and strengthen us in righteousness. Come strengthen us with Christ within. Come, conform me, come transform me to the image of You.”
Christ in us, the hope of glory. We’re lost and hopeless without Him. We need him so bad. My heart just breaks for those who struggle to make it each day without Christ and His Holy Spirit at work in their lives. Break me more, Lord! Work in me the ability to will and do according to your purpose. Make me a living testimony of your faithfulness and goodness. Awaken in me more fully that I’ve found the pearl of great price and that you’re worth selling all for!
“If I try and save my life I will lose it but if I lose my life for Your sake I’ll find it in the end. (This is true life.)”
The day of our wedding, I gave Heather a custom engagement photo book that I made. On the cover, I had titled the book “I will waste my life.” Some found the title curious, because it could imply that I thought I was surrendering to a lesser life by marrying her. Though that book wasn’t inspired by this song (it was inspired by a similar Misty Edwards song), I’m finding Rizzo’s “This is True Life” relevant as well. When we willfully give up and lose (or waste) our lives for sake of Christ… that’s when we really experience the good life. Marrying Heather cost me a little (the freedom and autonomy of bachelorhood) but it was a very small surrender for all the goodness I get to experience doing life with her. And so too are the surrenders Christ asks of us. There really are no “sacrifices” when it comes to the Kingdom because it is impossible to out-give God.
“Eternally I’ve been bought with blood. There will never be another sacrifice.”
A good reality to meditate on. Sometimes, we try in vain to add to Christ’s once-and-for-all sacrifice by beating ourselves up over sins, feeling like we should suffer and wallow in our fallenness. But that attitude implies that Christ’s sacrifice wasn’t enough and that he hasn’t truly suffered enough for our sins—that we need to add a little more. And that’s wrong.
“I will not despise the sowing of seeds. For I know in due time, I will see the fruit of my labors for all eternity… Nothing in this life will every truly satisfy the desires of your heart… See the weight, see the glory of what you’re doing. It is affecting you forever.”
That last stanza has really been going through my head these last few days. Like I said last week, we really, truly will sow what we reap, good and bad. We need to live soberly. As Maximus tells his soldiers in Gladiator: “What we do in life echoes in eternity.”
“I set my eyes on what I can not see. I set my eyes on the eternal. You are my great reward. Forever I will be with You. This momentary light affliction is working me an eternal weight of glory.” (2 Cor. 4)
My late friend Brian embraced these verses from 2 Cor. as he was dying of cancer. As his body was being ravaged by that fierce evil, he embraced eternity. He looked into his hopeful future and saw white shores Gandalf recalls in The Return of the King. Brian looked upon death and saw the victory that Christ had secured over it. Life would go one. He was just passing into a new dimension.
As Maximus says in Gladiator: “Death smiles upon us all. All a man can do is smile back.” It HAS NO VICTORY OVER US! IT HAS NO STING! We need to grow in revelation about death. Don’t get me wrong, I’m pissed Brian, as well as two other friends (Tim and Randy) were taken from us very prematurely. That’s wrong and it was completely from the devil. But still… we don’t have to carry prolonged sorrow over someone passing into the presence of the Lord. My friend Scott told me of a funeral he attended where his wife’s Godmother rebuked people for crying when they should be celebrating someone going to heaven. That might be a little strong, but it makes the point that we all lack revelation on what life is all about. Our life is but a vapor or a mist that disappears in a moment. Eternity is what we need to be living for. God, please work in me this truth! You hold the words of eternal life!