Posts Tagged: cross

The Rhythm of the Cross

Before the swell of gospel melody,

The steady scales of scripture

Are plunked out daily in practice.

I play my Father’s masterpiece.

 

Before the crowd of miracles,

Prayer plods through lonely deserts

noting life’s measure.

I play my Father’s masterpiece.

 

Before the timing of pharisaic dissidence,

Lessons in theory reveal the authentic

character of the world’s composer.

I play my Father’s masterpiece.

 

Before the crescendo of resurrection,

there is a garden path of surrender

where I watch the winding procession of betrayal.

I play my Father’s masterpiece.

 

Before the harmony of fireside discipleship,

I close my eyes and listen to the master play.

Tuning my heart to the rhythm of the cross.

I play my Father’s masterpiece.

Jesus Set the Bar Too High

Matthew 25:37Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,f you did it to me.

I have been reading the story of Hosea this week. Hosea was an amazing prophet, told by God to marry a prostitute as a living illustration of Israel’s unfaithfulness to God. I won’t fill in all the blanks for you, but as we read the story we see a beautiful Old Testament example of God’s overwhelming love for us. When I asked the group discussing the story, can we love the unbeliever with this level of self-sacrifice, the comment was made, “Well Hosea and Jesus set the bar pretty high for us.” This isn’t the first time that I have heard similar statements. “Well Jesus was God, that how he could keep from sinning.” “He had supernatural power, that why he could endure the cross.” “ I can’t forgive on that level because I’m not Jesus.”  It can become so easy for us to downplay or up-play Jesus’s deity, depending upon our day to day perspective, and whether we want to get our hands dirty with the depravity of man.

Our minds struggle to accept both God’s right judgment of our sin which requires death and his overwhelming love which leads to life–both held on the cross at the same time. How can we hate what is evil and love without conditions all at the same time. I was reminded during counseling training on Friday and Saturday that only God says when to shake the dust off of who is unrepentant. I don’t get to pick who I believe is worthy of God’s grace. The Church has ill equipped us for ministering to the lost, and for that I am deeply sorrowful!

How do we turn this around? We began seeing the harvest around us, the hunger, the needs, the brokenness in others by seeing and accepting our own depravity. Apart from God I am dead in my sins. My own circumstances included a pastor and his wife taking me in when I was pregnant and homeless. That love and sacrifice spoke volumes to me. It didn’t take me long to realize I wanted far more than the world could offer me, but there are some it takes 20 years or more! Are the believers willing to sacrifice, come along side, endure rebellion for that long? We need to be if we are taking up our cross daily and following Jesus.

The Cross is Necessary: Why God couldn’t rescue us through a baby

Mark 15:39When the centurion, who was standing right in front of Him, saw the way He breathed His last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”

Since Jonathan’s death I have struggled with the cross. In all of my getting to know the character of God the cross always made sense. But, since Jonathan’s death I have questioned why the cross is necessary. If God is God then why did Jesus have to die? And of course the underlying question, how does Jonathan’s death work anything for good?

At the Christmas Eve service, as the pastor shared the sermon, the Lord jolted my attention. I mean, sat me up straight and sent me searching for a pen. He said, Karisa I want you to hear this and he wasn’t talking about my ears. My soul was now leaning into the next words.

“It was not enough that Jesus came as a little baby. We don’t need a perfect example, we need a savior.”

It isn’t enough that Jesus came as a baby, grew up among us, did miracles, gave us some good principals to live by. Those are all amazing, but the cross is necessary! Because, you see, with one fell swoop God said Karisa I came for you! Reader, I came for you! Oh, the power surging through my fingers as I type this message to you.

I can celebrate Christmas, despite the loss of Jonathan this year, because God said that I was worth saving. My son was worth saving. You are worth saving.

How can I not live life to the fullest? How can I not wake my daughter up yesterday morning with the delight of Christmas? How can I not share with you the joy that comes in the midst of my pain and casts despair to the deepest part of the sea? I want you to know that Jesus came for you, not when you had your act together, but when you didn’t even know that you needed him. He loved me when I was still forming in my mother’s womb, he valued me when others abused me, he claimed me when I rejected him at 19, and became an anorexic drunk, and he saved me when I was an unwed mother at 20. I had grown up hearing about the man called Jesus, but it is only at the foot of the cross that I really saw him for the Son of God!

Open each day like it is a gift and may it be filled with joy that transcends your understanding! Because, God does things that don’t make sense to me and I love him for it. He rescued me in a mind blowing way, and it started with a little baby in a manger, but it did continued all the way to the cross and a grave that could not contain him! Merry Christmas!

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