Welcome to Friday’s Praise! If you’re new here come read about:
Today, let’s take a moment to remember the sacrifice of our Savior, the path of suffering He walked toward for us, to take our rightful punishment for sins He – our perfect and spotless Lord – never once committed. Thank You, LORD.
Isaiah 53 (ESV)
1 Who has believed what he has heard from us?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
3 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.
4 Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 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.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people?
9 And they made his grave with the wicked
and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.
Because of this incredible gift, we can sing You Belong, Beloved Prodigal in confident faith and joyfully expectant praise:
You Belong, Beloved Prodigal
By Anna Louise Smit
You belong to the One
Who gave you breath
Whose heart beats
Still so strong within
Who made you fearfully
And wonderfully YOU.
You belong to the King
You belong to the Lord Most High
Royal, chosen and beloved heir
Cloaked in His blessed grace
Crowned for His delight.
You belong to the Lord
The One who rent His heart for you
The One who saw behind your sin
Your downcast shame in bleeding pain
Crying forgive her Father
She knows not what she does.
You belong to the Holy Spirit
Sealed in Spirit breath
The moment your heart you gave
Savior as LORD did claim
No power above or below
Is greater than He who beats in you.
You belong to the Creator
Adopted, His own
Even in darkness
Without a ray of light
Now lean into those waiting arms
For darkness is as Light to Him.
You belong to the Good Shepherd
Lying tongues may chain
But His Voice will lead you come
You will step fear toward in strength
For you His sheep, you hear Him call
“Peace be still”, your storm He’ll calm.
You belong to the One true God
The One who cries mercy
The One who always hopes,
Always protects, always trusts
And NEVER fails.
For He delights in the truth:
For Christ, your righteousness
In you He breathes.
These words are my living testimony. They are truths that led me to surrender and repentance of my sin as a Prodigal daughter who finally began to not only be convicted of her sin, but also of her righteousness in Christ alone. For He had already made His home in me all those years before and claimed me as His beloved own.
I found the arms of my Savior in the outpouring of His kindness in multiple and stunning ways:
– in the palpable Presence of Peace upon my dying Mum,
– in the gentle, knowing Love that covered my grieving and fearful heart as I walked surrounded by God’s majestic creation,
– in testimonies of grace I was led to read upon my return to the Netherlands after burying my Mum
– in entering a church, fearful and alone, to meet a sermon speaking of a coming home to Christ, stunningly answering a very specific prayer of my best friend of now 25 years
– in the growing friendship with my then vicar’s wife, who visited me every two weeks for almost a year to pray with, hug and speak loving truth into my grieving heart
– in sermons and worship songs that poured like a river onto the parched and yearning soil of my heart.
A kindness that pierced the darkness, ripped the blindfold and broke my chains in two.
A kindness that still leaves me undone in tears of thanksgiving and joy, leading me more deeply into Christ’s heart.
A kindness that is still pursuing me into surrender and repentance, into His loving arms, as I shared at Velvet Ashes this week:
A kindness I pray and believe by faith all God’s Beloved Prodigals will meet and embrace by the power of the Spirit who speaks truth and pours love out upon them.
LORD empty us for You, lead us into a fully surrendered and obedient life, shine Your Spirit Life in us that our Beloved Prodigals would not see us, but YOU – KINDNESS, LOVE, GRACE and MERCY. Keep breaking our hearts for that which breaks Yours. Lead us to deeper and deeper surrender and repentance, LORD. Thank You for the incredible gift of Your Holy Spirit Life in us. Shine Your Light brightly in and through us we pray in Your Mighty Name!