Posts Tagged: easter

The Cross is Necessary

The Cross is Necessary for Salvation

The cross was necessary for the salvation of many. I have done so many things wrong, and I can never make myself clean enough. But, even saying that I confess I want another answer. I don’t want suffering to be the answer for anyone, not even the Son of God. Yet, Jesus warned that this life will be filled with suffering. But, no matter how much I suffer, it does not define me. Jesus does.   And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!” Mark 15:39, NIV

Turning My Page: The Cross is Necessary for Salvation

I struggled with the cross after Jonathan died. Why did require such a brutal answer for our salvation? From the moment I accepted Jesus as my Savior, I lived my life trying to follow what I knew as the character of God. I know my faith wasn’t perfect, but being a good mom felt like enough for a good outcome for my children. While I knew with my head Christians are not immune to the evils of this world, there was still an undercurrent of grumbling in my heart. And when Jonathan died I asked, why did my son suffer, and how does Jonathan’s death work anything for good in God’s plan?

The Lord answered my questions the first Christmas Eve service after Jonathan’s death.

It was not enough that Jesus came as a little baby. We don’t need a perfect example, we need a savior. Christmas Eve 2014
Mental Illness Does Not Devalue You

Jesus came as a baby, grew up among us, performed miracles, and provided good principles to live by. But still, the cross was non-negotiable. Without Jesus’ death on the cross, we are left trying to measure up to the laws of God without grace.

With Christ’s sacrifice, God said to the Centurian standing as witness to the sentence of Christ, there is more to life than our suffering and attempting to be good enough. He didn’t curse His accusers, he forgave them. The Centurian declared Jesus the Son of God before he fully understood his need for that crucified Savior. The cross was necessary to redeem us.

Without the cross, there is no victory over death. My son’s death is not the end of my story because Jesus redeemed the grave and gives power to all who believe. I was worth saving. My son was worth saving.

You are worth saving.

I now celebrate transformed lives because Jonathan’s life mattered to God, and he utilizes our story to encourage others to not give up.

Jesus came for me, not when I had my act together, but when I didn’t even know that I needed him. My son’s death does not limit God’s power. Life is still full and possible because Jesus chose the cross. The cross was necessary for the salvation of many.

Jonathan’s Confirmation Cross

Turning Your Page

Open each day like it is a gift, filled with joy that transcends your understanding. God does things that don’t make sense to you in human judgment because he is sovereign. He rescued you, not as baby Jesus in the manger, but as Christ, the Savior on the cross.

  • Have you ever walked around the cross? Take time this Easter to read each of the gospel accounts of the trial, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus. Put yourself in the characters involved. What did you see differently through each person’s view of the cross?
  • Journal any new insights God reveals as you place yourself in the crucifixion story.

Gracious Savior, I need you. Amid painful suffering, I know You are truly the Son of God! Amen He is enough. The cross has made you Flawless. My story.

Develop mind, body, and spiritual resilience

The Crucifixion of Jesus is Necessary

And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”

Mark 15:39, NIV

Turning My Page

I struggled with the cross after Jonathan died. From the moment I accepted Jesus as my Savior, I lived my life trying to follow His ways. I know my faith wasn’t perfect, but being a good mom felt like enough for my son to be okay. While I knew with my head Christians are not immune to the evils of this world, there was still an undercurrent of grumbling in my heart. Why did my son suffer, and how does Jonathan’s death work anything for good in God’s plan?

The Lord answered my questions the first Christmas Eve service after Jonathan’s death.

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

Christmas Eve 2014
Mental Illness Does Not Devalue You

Jesus came as a baby, grew up among us, preformed miracles, and provided good principals to live by. But still, the cross was non-negotiable. Without Jesus’ death on the cross, we are left trying to measure up to the laws of God without grace.

With Christ’s sacrifice, God said to the Centurian standing as witness to the sentence of Christ, there is more to life than our suffering and attempting to be good enough. He didn’t curse his accusers, he forgave them. The Centurian declared Jesus the Son of God before he fully understood his need for that crucified Savior. The cross was necessary to redeem us.

Without the cross, there is no victory over death. My son’s death is not the end of my story because Jesus redeemed the grave and gives power to all who believe. I was worth saving. My son was worth saving. You are worth saving. I now celebrate transformed lives because Jonathan’s life mattered to God, and he utilizes our story to encourage others to not give up.

Jesus came for me, not when I had my act together, but when I didn’t even know that I needed him. My son’s death does not limit God’s power. Life is still full and possible because Jesus chose the cross.

Jonathan’s Confirmation Cross

Turning Your Page

Open each day like it is a gift, filled with joy that transcends your understanding. God does things that don’t make sense to you in human judgment because he is sovereign. He rescued you, not as baby Jesus in the manger, but as Christ, the Savior on the cross.

  • Have you ever walked around the cross? Take time this Easter to read each of the gospel accounts of the trial, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus. Put yourself in the characters involved. What did you see differently through each person’s view of the cross?
  • Journal any new insights God reveals as you place yourself in the crucifixion story.

Gracious Savior, I need you. Amid painful suffering, I know You are truly the Son of God! Amen

What is Truth?

Heaven’s army crowded the borders of the universe,
as God in Flesh
wore a robe of bloody lashes and crown of
mockery.


A legion of wings beat the air, ready
to rush to the king’s aid.
Angelic swords sparked against grinding wheel.
Muscles strained under bonds of armor.
The sweaty preparation of a rescue mission. But hope
remained restrained by a silent raised arm of the Commander.

“Forsaken.” Death
disfigured salvation.

Three days God held heaven at bay.
While man reveled in his own truth
WE ARE GOD!

Until grave rumbled to life,
and heaven triumphantly revealed
the passion of truth. Heaven perched on stone
and declared, “He is not here.”
Resurrection.

Meditation on John 18:

36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

38 “What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him. 39 But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?”

40 They shouted back, “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!” Now Barabbas had taken part in an uprising.

John 18:36-40


New Life Cup

When the cup we pass around
the table
grows cold with doubt’s tears
and our empty souls
keep feasting on the moldy bread of fear–you come.
Pouring new sweet wine, forever bubbling generously
over the sides of our expectations.
and serve fresh bread from the banquet table of your papa, the king.

Keep Hoping Because . . .

Frostbit by fear

I keep feeling

Dented by doubt

I keep driving

     Burnt by bitterness                                                                                  I keep believing

     Taunted by trials                                                                                      I keep trusting

Supported by scripture

I keep standing

because . . .

Condemned by cross

You kept carrying

Lifted by liars

You kept loving

Revealed by resurrection

You keep redeeming

 

Turning the Page on Saturday: Embracing the Resurrection power of Sunday

“It is Only for the Weekend” was the sermon title at my in-laws church. God, who is not limited, doesn’t even operate in the limits of time, takes our circumstances whether good or bad and declares that they are temporary. Even death is now an unpredictable outcome for those who believe.

On our drive home Brian and I agreed that the heartache of missing Jonathan sure didn’t feel like only a weekend. “Feels like we are stuck on Saturday.” Brian said. Maybe your circumstances are like ours and you feel stuck in pain, your job, your life, your loss. The resurrection hasn’t happened or become an active part of our thinking, living, and dying. We are confused and reeling from plans not of our own making. We want to hide away, cry out, shake our fist at a God for allowing such agony into our lives. We would not map out the same path.

This is exactly how the disciples behaved after the crucifixion, the Romans guarded the tomb just in case the disciples tried to steal the body. They needn’t worry–the disciples were stuck on Saturday. When they started getting reports that Jesus was alive, most of the 12 did not go running to the tomb to confirm that it was empty and that Christ was indeed resurrected. They were in disbelief, and that was where they were likely going to stay if Jesus himself hadn’t walked through the door. I mean that literally, he waked through the closed and locked door.

Does Jesus have to walk through the closed and locked door of my heart for me to accept that his plan for my future is a good one? Or do I declare with my hands open to the heavens “BUT, SUNDAY!” The resurrection isn’t just an event that happened in history, it happens today when believers see the risen Christ in their lives and are transformed.

Lord, open my mind, heart, and soul to Sunday and help me to Turn the Page on Saturday! Amen.

Invited into the Garden of Trust: Jesus Trusted His Heavenly Father Completely

Matthew: 26: 36Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” 37And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watchd with me.” 39And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”

I’ve been invited into the garden. Not for a girly tea party, nice as those are, but invited to drink a cup of my Father’s will. Two years ago, the Holy Spirit began leading me to the garden, I thought it was teach me forgiveness, but now in the midst of grief, confusion, and a loss I physically cannot bear I finally understand. God was inviting me to trust him completely.

What does it mean to trust God completely?

  • Putting God’s will first (vs. 36)
  • Obedience ( vs. 39,42)
  • Seeing that God is sovereign in ALL circumstances (vs. 39, 42)
  • Allowing the Holy Spirit to lead me (vs. 41)
  •  Acknowledging my will as well as his (vs. 39)

Jesus was in the habit (discipline) of praying in the garden! (Luke 22:39), How many of us, when facing the most difficult trial stick to our routine of talking to God? He went to the garden not out of sudden desperation, but out of steady consistency.  His prayer was raw, real, and vulnerable. He gave insight into his state of mind, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” Sometimes our will verses God’s will takes us to the brink of death. Our flesh wants its way! This isn’t some lightweight battle, the enemy of our soul knows exactly what he is doing! It is okay to ask the heavenly father for our will to be done, even while we submit to His will completely. The Holy Spirit ministers to us in our weakness. through prayer, keeping watch, discipline, even with those we long to support us fall away in their own weakness.

From Psalm 37 I learn these building blocks of God’s will:

  • Trust
  • Delight
  • Commit
  • Be Still
  • Wait patiently
  • Refrain
  • Turn
  • Hope
  • Consider

As I practice these 9 steps I will find that forgiveness happens out of my God given new spirit, and as I am in the garden, I will be able to trust in everything that I have learned about my heavenly father. Then I will be able to drink the cup of his will completely.

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