Tag Archives: cross

Forgiveness in the midst

Did you ever notice when Jesus forgave those who were responsible for His death?

It was in the midst of His suffering.

Luke 23:34 KJV — Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

This truth struck me this morning as I was praying.

Jesus is the believer’s example in all things and that includes forgiveness.

Thus, we should be quick to forgive, even in the midst of the pain, right in the middle of the wrong, we need to forgive.

What about those things which happened already?

Yes, we need to forgive those who hurt us in the past as well.

Because Christ Jesus forgave us, we must forgive others.

Acts 5:31 NKJV — “Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your forgiveness. Thank You for Your example, that You chose to forgive, even in the middle of the most horrific abuse You were experiencing. Thank You that it doesn’t matter how much we are hurt, it matters how much You are willing and able to heal the hurt. Lord, thank You for Your incredible sacrifice. Thank You for salvation. Amen.

Week before Easter

Matthew 26:1-2 NKJV — Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, that He said to His disciples, “You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.”

There’s nothing which can really prepare someone for the death of a loved one.

But this is an even deeper shock.

The disciples had great expectations for Jesus and crucifixion wasn’t one of them.

Not to mention, that Jesus had done nothing wrong.

What would they accuse Him of?

How could an innocent man be allowed to pay the ultimate punishment?

Their minds couldn’t grapple the full truth of what was occurring.

Jesus understood.

The Gospels were written for those who came after.

So we might learn the truth as well as those who walked with Jesus.

Luke 24:15-17 NKJV — So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him. And He said to them, “What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?”

Jesus, Himself, explained all that had happened to His disciples, that they might share the truth.

It was why He came.

Luke 24:25-27NKJV — Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! “Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.

As difficult as it is to realize that Jesus was born to die on a cross, all of scripture points to Him as the Redeemer.

It is truly wonderful that Jesus knew exactly what He was walking to and when He rose, He had made the way to salvation.

As we walk forward in this week before Easter, let us spend time meditating upon Jesus.

What He did.

Who He is.

And why He did it.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your sacrifice. Nothing I can do or experience will ever compare to Your wonderful gift of salvation. How great a blessing! What a wonderful, beautiful, priceless gift! Lord, I want to honor You and Your sacrifice. I want my life to reflect Your love and truth. Please help me to live daily, carrying my cross with joy. Thank You for Your promises. Thank You for Your love. I love You. Amen.

Amazing Grace

“Amazing Grace! how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like Me!”

John Newton’s hymn is timeless.

Although there are many hymns and songs which articulate the same truths this one does, it will always be a favorite.

The first line vibrates with such meaning.

For a sinner, covered in the stains of disobedience, the sound of Jesus’voice granting both cleansing and rebirth is the sweetest melody.

“I once was lost, but now am found, Was blind, but now I see.”

The truth of being lost in utter darkness is a terrifying place to be, but oh how joyous to have Christ throw open the heavy disgusting prison door of wickedness and separation from God, to allow the truth of His sacrifice to bring such as myself into the glory and healing of life in the Son.

“‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, And grace my fears relieved; How previous did that grace appear The hour I first believed!”

When one sees clearly, the enormous gap between the sinner and God Almighty seems an unreachable divide.

Then the cross becomes a door, a gift of grace to all who chose to enter, and upon opening the door of belief in Jesus each one finds even more grace through the abundant love of Christ Jesus.

“Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come; ‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, And grace will lead me home.”

Once the sinner turned saint steps into the journey of life in Christ Jesus they find a friend Who walks with them through every trial and trouble.

They are sojourners on their way through this world toward life eternal with Christ in heaven.

“When we’ve been there ten thousand years, Bright shining as the sun, We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise Than when we first begun. Amen”

Our time oriented minds can not truly fathom eternity.

But to spend a little imagination, we might think, we might well picture what praise, worship, and prayer at the foot of God’s throne could be like.

To be utterly free from sin, wickedness, evil, death, fear, anxiety, trouble, hunger, grief, pain,…

I can easily see why we would spend ten thousand years worshipping and be content to continue on and on.

Revelation 4:8 NKJV — The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!”

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for being holy. Thank You for salvation and Your amazing grace. Lord, thank You for giving us so much, for we do not deserve any of it. Lord Jesus, please help those who have yet to know You to see You and recognize Your salvation. Lord, please soften hearts and open their eyes to Your truth. Lord, for those who are called by Your name, please help each one of us to remain humble, aware of Your incredible grace each and every day. Let us never take advantage of the glorious gift You have given, but instead strengthen us to remain vigilant, wise servants who watch and wait for the return of their Master. I love You, Jesus. I praise Your holy name! Amen.

Answers

It’s been several days.

I’ve been seeking the Lord for direction and guidance for our family.

My prayer: “Lord let us know what Your will is.”

The answer came yesterday.

But it didn’t look like what I expected.

It wasn’t a comfortable circumstance.

Yet, our direction was clear.

As I went to bed, I thanked God for His direction, although was still a little emotionally prickled by the form.

I hadn’t realized it until this morning.

Without really thinking about the words my emotions were asking God, “Why did the answer have to come that way?”

With my first thoughts this morning He answered.

You wanted direction and I gave it.

I chose that tool to make it very clear to you and your husband.

And my response had been to be focused on my own discomfort, rather than praising God for answering.

I had to wonder.

Would my husband and I have accepted His guidance if He’d used a different circumstance?

I can say, my perspective changed in that moment.

I began to praise God for His direction and guidance.

My heart thanked Him for His Sovereignty.

I looked at my life and began to see a long series of circumstances which were uncomfortable, some very painful, and I could look back at how God’s hand of direction was in each.

Although I didn’t enjoy walking through those things, I am praising God for them.

He has used trials, pain, and all manner of life’s struggles to direct, guide, and hone me.

As difficult as those things were, I am praising God for them.

As uncomfortable as some things are, I’m praising God for them.

I don’t want to live without Him, and He said to take up my cross and follow Him.

He wasn’t walking to a picnic when He carried His cross.

I shouldn’t expect one either.

Following Christ, carrying His cross, brings so much reward.

His path broke the chains of sin and death forever!

Then He rose, and He walked a little longer with mankind on the Earth.

And now He is preparing a place for all who believe in His name, what He did, and who He is, God’s Son.

Part of that preparation is a wedding feast, the marriage of the Lamb.

Yes, I want to carry my cross and follow Him.

For the days of struggle, trials, and pain are few compared to the joy which eternity holds.

I praise God for His path for me.

And I’ll take a wedding feast over a picnic any day!

Psalm 16:11 NKJV — You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Preparing for Sunday

Obviously, this is not an ordinary Easter weekend.

Yet, the order to stay home doesn’t change the fact that this is a Sunday not to be forgotten.

The day Jesus rose again!

Just think on what that moment meant.

What it still means!

Life, death, and eternity all changed forever.

That’s worth celebrating!

It doesn’t take a crowd.

Nor fancy clothes.

Nor tables piled with food.

This celebration only needs one thing.

Our hearts.

True worship of God and His Son Jesus.

Not an agenda.

Not speaking ritualistic words.

But the honest, humble, grateful heart.

Because it was my sin which nailed Him there.

It was my voice that denied knowing Him.

And it was my debt He suffered and died for.

Mine.

That is the incredible, awesome truth of Jesus.

He paid it all for me.

And He did the same for you.

I can’t think of a better reason to celebrate!

And I’m starting today.

Just in simple ways to praise and thank my Lord Jesus.

Hebrews 13:15 KJV — By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

Pictures of truth

pictures of truthWhat is in a picture?

At times I stare at a group of brush strokes

and will myself to find the meaning

the artist so carefully portrayed.

Other times I view something

and shut my eyes tight hoping that the scene will be washed away.

Then there are those times

I ponder

looking intently

drinking in the deeper meaning behind the picture.

More often than I would like to admit my eye passes over many things and I dispose of them as unwanted, unimportant, unnecessary visual jargon.

Monday held a surprise for me.

A generous person had given some children along with my son a bracelet with symbols.

Then he explained the meaning behind each and I was surprised at the truth each little symbol held.

A heart: standing for the love of God

“For God so loved the world that He gave He only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

An X: every person does things they know to be wrong: sin

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Rom.3:23

A cross: Jesus died and rose again to pay for that sin

“…that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen…” 1 Cor. 15:3b-5a

A ? : What will you do with this information? I have made the choice to follow the LORD.

“…But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15b

I listened to my son talk through the pictures with me.

Smiling I hugged him as he thrilled to announce:

“This means we go to heaven!”

“Yes!” were the only words that I had.

As he proudly wears his bracelet I think to myself,

am I as happy about these pictures of truth as my little boy?

Am I willing to wear such a thing?

To answer questions and boldly proclaim:

As for me and my house we will serve the LORD?

Here is my answer:

bracelet #2

I hope you too can walk through these symbols and see the truth, understand the gift of love, and

answer the question.