and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Good Saturday?

       We don’t really have a name for the day after Good Friday, so I’m wondering if we should use Good Saturday.  Then I think, would it be a good Saturday for me if I lived in Jesus’ day?  I mean, what did everyone do the next day after the death of the Savior of the world?  Of course, most people didn’t even realize that is what happened.  Most of the people “spiritual eyes” were still blind. (Mk. 8:17,18)

       Mary (Jesus’ mom) probably spent her day grieving the loss of her son and remembering the many wonderful memories they had together.  She may have even cried to God saying, “Did it have to be this way?”   And her mother instincts would have wandered to how Jesus deserved better and how the required burial rituals were yet to be done.  I’m sure she would have needed time alone- in her new home with John the disciple, but she also would have drawn some strength from him as well. (Jn. 19:26,27)

       Peter probably spent the day grieving as well.  When the dust settled on the tragic day, the guilt of his denial (Jn. 18:25+) would have resounded in his ears over and over again.  He likely spent the Saturday going over everything that happened again and again wondering what he could have done differently, and how he should have acted.  The self butt-kickings would not have stopped for a long, long time.

       One centurion who was at the cross spent the next day laughing at this wretched, brutalized ‘king’ with the other criminals that he nailed to the cross, the one whose clothing he now owned.  Another centurion sat in confusion wondering over all that went on and the words he had never heard anyone speak from a cross before. Yet other centurions were experiencing new life from watching Jesus, hearing the words He said, and by the fearful signs that happened. (Mt. 27:54)

       The High Priest and his partners in Jesus’ incrimination were toasting and discussing the close call they had with this man who almost cost them their reputations.  They discussed how things should settle down now and made certain the tomb would remain guarded.  Two priests sat in a quiet spot conferring over the strange signs, mostly how they were in the Temple when the veil was torn (Mt. 27:51), and what that could possibly symbolize.  They questioned if what this man who died said just might be true.

       Some were crying at the loss of the Messiah, while some were cheering at His death.  Some felt pain over their own actions while others tried to figure out how to properly anoint the body. (Mk. 16:1) Some were questioning everything they had ever thought while others were ‘reading the news of the day’ and picking a side to be on.  So, here is my question.  If it was the day after Jesus’ death, where do you think you would have been, and what do you think you would have been doing?  Would it be a good Saturday for you…  and if so why? or why not?

Friday, April 06, 2012

Keep Moving Forward

               If you can't fly then run,
                          if you can't run then walk,
                                    if you can't walk then crawl,
               but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward. 
                                    Quote- Martin Luther King Jr.

       Good Friday is the day we observe the Lord Jesus’ death every year.  I imagine that Jesus understood the meaning behind this quote as He walked the ‘road’ to Golgotha/ Calvary, His body exhausted, beaten and bloodied, aching and torn, an innocent man condemned for another man’s guilt (ours).  Though it is not recorded, I imagine He struggled significantly to walk especially at first as He carried the heavy weight of His cross.  Then, after another man was conscripted to carry it, Jesus was still severely weakened yet had to continue walking the rest of the possible half mile.

       What kept Him going, moving forward?  The Bible said, “…for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame…” (Heb. 12:2)  What joy is that?  The joy of knowing mankind could be saved- because of His death and resurrection- kept Him going.  How far would you walk in a similar condition to save your children, let aone the world?  You would be quit determined despite the weakness and pain.

       As Jesus persevered in walking to His prophesied future, we also need to keep moving forward no matter how difficult it gets, how much pain and sorrow we face, or how weak our bodies or minds are.  Jesus said, “…If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Luke   So as Jesus kept ‘the joy’ before Him, we need to keep our ‘goal’ in mind to help us focus on taking that next step. Our goal is eternal life (Rom. ) with the author/ leader and finisher/ completer of our faith, that is promised for those who accept Christ.

But… we have to keep going, moving forward.
              One more step… then one more… then one more…

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness… 2Tm. 4:7,8

It's not that I have already reached this goal or have already become perfect. But I keep pursuing it, hoping somehow to embrace it just as I have been embraced by Christ Jesus. Brothers, I do not consider myself to have embraced it. But this one thing I do: Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I keep pursuing the goal to win the prize of God's heavenly call in Christ Jesus. Php. 3:12-14 ISV

       None of these words are easy words: fight, pursue, and strain.  They require effort and determination- perseverance despite the opposition.  Why was Paul willing to put in so much effort?  He wrote about Jesus Christ, “That I may know him (absolutely)…” Php. 3:10  To know Christ and have the hope of eternal life… those sound like two of the greatest reasons to keep moving forward, by whatever method of travel we can!  There could be no greater gift than our Lord, forever.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Shiny Nails

       My daughter held my hand as we watched a tv on dvd show together.  She was not trying to receive comfort or affection; rather, she was giving me a special manicure.  Using differing strengths (grit) of files, and working from the largest grit to the finest, she filed and buffed my nails.  By the end of the show, my once ridged and dull nails became smooth and shiny like they were coated in nail polish- but they weren’t.  I honestly didn’t know you could do that to nails.

       There are parallels to this type of manicure and our lives.  Instead of doing a proper job of filing our nail ridges, we just cover them over with ‘pretty’ polish.  In the end, the ridges usually show through and ruin the finish.  But, if you do the job correctly, allowing yourself the time to do so, the ridges will be gone and the nails will look shiny and feel smoother than you can imagine.

       Sometimes in our lives we try to cover over our rough spots thinking- it’s okay if we keep those ridges in our lives as long as they remain covered up so no one can see them (unless they look too close.)  So, we cover up our bloodshot eyes from drinking with cool shades, our overindulgence in deserts and snacks with tummy tuck panties, and our single person dating ‘hickies’ with high necked shirts. 

       We cover up our slander or gossip under the guise of ‘just praying for them’, and hide our personal ambitions by saying ‘God wants me to’ when He said no such thing.  We conceal our lack of relationship with God by attending church functions, and our lack of reading the Word with lengthy, spiritual sounding public prayers.  We are masters at covering up our sin so that we don’t lose our reputation for ________ (fill in the blank) with those who know us.

Really, what are we worried about… that they might find out we’re sinners? (Gasp!)

       Do we really think we can hide our rough spots from God?  He sees all (Ps. 33:13-15) and He knows all. (Ps. 139:1-4)  There is no place we can go to hide our sins from Him; (v.7-9) they will eventually show through.  Even those that don’t show up while we live on this earth will show through in the end time judgment exposure. (1)  Beware!  It’s better to deal with them now, than later.

       God doesn’t want us to have that phony shine anyway.  He wants us to have a ‘natural’ God made shine, which He helps us to acquire by bringing special blessings into our lives: the neighbour whose cat continues to pee on your garden, the Christian committee member who keeps reminding you of how you can’t seem to do anything right, and the boss who yells at you for no reason.  Then there’s the worship leader who always gives you the cold shoulder, and that man who keeps taking your seat at church… but you’re sure you never did anything wrong to deserve any of this treatment.  The truth is, you might not have, but God will bring these blessings into our lives to help smooth out our rough spots.  We want life to be soft (easy) like a chamois to remove the rough edges rather than a file, but the right file is the file God sends.

       He gave us His Word to help teach, guide and lead us in our lives/ behaviour. (2Tm. )  However, we all know that reading it doesn’t always mean we change, so sometimes God utilizes the help of those people around us to help smooth out our rough edges.  For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth…” says Heb. 12:6.  The first word means train, educate, discipline, and the second, to flog.  So my guess is that if the ‘educating’ of the Word doesn’t work in removing our rough spots, perhaps the ‘flog’ will come into our lives to start filing away at them.  Maybe once all those rough spots are removed and buffed, our nails/ lives will shine like God intends for them to do!

1. (the Lord) …who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts… 1Cor. 4:5 
be sure your sin will find you out. Num. 32:23 
For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. Luke 12:2 

Tuesday, April 03, 2012


       Women might understand this more than men, but I’m going to write about it anyway.  Today was one of those days where I couldn’t keep focus on prayers.  My mind wandered onto one topic, then another, and finally I’d realize it and refocus.  That would last a couple minutes and then my mind would drift again.  After several mind rambles away from prayers, I apologized to the Lord for being so easily distracted.

       That was when I heard Him (that inner voice) say, “It’s okay, you’re just ADD.”  A little upset, I said, “What do you mean?  I’m not ADD, I’ve never been ADD, and no doctor has ever told me they thought I was.  How can you say that…”  Unexpectedly, I heard Him clarify this way, “You’re a dear daughter!”  Well, that shut me up pretty quickly (a miracle, some would say J) and at the same time made me think how blessed I am that the God of all creation wants to spend time with me.

       Really… dear?  Let’s consider the synonyms: beloved, cherished, prized, valued, treasured, precious, darling, and sweetheart.  There are many people who wouldn’t ‘see’ me that way, even among my family, but my precious Lord sees me that way; how astonishing!  How can you help but love someone back who loves you so unconditionally, and did even before you knew He existed?  I cannot imagine a life without my Lord.

       Let me tell you, growing up I never felt like a dear daughter.  But I have been adopted into God’s family, and I have never felt so dear before.  Why believe and follow a God you can’t see?  It’s for the moments like these that bring a joy and peace in your heart and life which cannot be obtained by any man (for we all fail sooner or later) or by life itself.

       If God is truly no respecter of persons (Acts ) then it follows that He considers you dear to Him, beloved and a treasure.  He wants to be with you in the good times, in the bad times, in the party times, in the quiet times, and all the times in between.  Wherever you are, the Lord is there and is waiting for you to interact with Him.  He treasures every moment you will share with Him.

Monday, April 02, 2012

I Heard You Crying In the Darkness

       There you are sitting by yourself- your heart is breaking and tears are leaving wet marks on your shirt.  You feel all alone and you’re asking where I am, but I am right here with you.  Right now it just hurts too much and you can’t ‘feel’ me near- but I am there. (1)  I really do hear your cry (13), and I am with you in your broken heartedness. (2)

       Don’t be afraid.  Trust me to help you through this. (3) Have confidence that I know best and will do what needs to be done.  I will use the world and its tragedies and trials for good in your life even though you don’t understand right now, and even though you want me to fix it immediately. (4)  Some day, you will understand.  Just trust me because I am worthy of your confidence for I am a faithful God. (5)

       Let me wipe away your tears as I will do forever one day. (6)  Did you know that I remember all your tears, even all your footsteps? (7) You always thought life ‘can only get easier’, but you found out differently… though I wish it didn’t have to be that way.  Let me comfort you in this distressing time. (8)  Let me tell you how precious you are to me (9), how much I want to share your life (10), and how much I love you! (11)

       I heard you crying in the darkness.  Cry out to me. (12) I’ll hear you, (13) and I will shine my light in your darkness to help you through it. (14) Allow me to comfort you, (15) to be with you (10) and help lead you out of the dark. (16) Fear not, for I am with you, don’t be alarmed, for I will strengthen you, help you, ‘I will enable you to bear all your trials with my faithful’* hand of favour. (17) Nothing or no one can ever separate you from my love. (18)

Remember, I love you with an everlasting love! (Jer. 31:3)

1. The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him… Ps. 145:18
2. The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Ps. 34:17,18
3. What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. Ps. 56:3 
4. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Rom.  
5. God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? Num. 23:19 
6. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. Rev. 21:4
7. yet his (God’s) eyes are upon their (man’s) ways. Job 24:23
8. I, even I, am he that comforteth you… Is. 51:12
9. Since thou art precious in My sight…  Is. 43:4 JPS
10. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. … Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. … God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 1 John 4:13-16
11. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
12. (David) …Unto thee will I cry, O LORD my rock… Ps. 28:1
13. In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears. Ps. 18:6
14. When his candle shined upon my head, and when by his light I walked through darkness; Job 29:3
15. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Ps. 23:4
16. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. Ps. 61:2
*Albert Barnes notes on the Bible ‘paraphrase’
17. Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Is. 41:10
18. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?... For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom. 8:35,38,39