Forsaken

“And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying…”my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?!”’

Why would the Father forsake His son?

This verse is listed twice in both Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34 which only adds to its significance.

On the surface, we find that it is a reference to David’s Psalm 22. Here he is lamenting over his enemies mocking him and even dividing/casting lots for his clothing (sound familiar?).

The Jews who were there as Jesus cried out would have caught the reference and its meaning; our human dependency or desperation for God and the acknowledgment of that dependency. This inner longing for our Abba (father) to rescue us.

Of course there is a lot more that can be said about this scripture. But one thing stood out above the rest for me. And that is that Jesus knows what it means to be fully man.

He took on the full weight of our sin in that moment, and in doing so this cut him off from God (His source). In that moment, I believe the Holy Spirit within him grew quiet and Jesus felt what sin had severed; our relationship with God.

How far we have come from the Garden. That we no longer remembered what it was our soul craves. Walking with our Father in the cool of the day…complete and blameless before Him.

Jesus felt that separation for our sake. That he could destroy sin’s death grip on us, abridging the gap between mankind and God, and so that he could speak on our behalf. He became our intercessor, the one who knows what it’s like to be human, and to face our weaknesses.

He was killed as a criminal, the scapegoat for our sin, even though he had never sinned…

He faced hell (as in essence—the core attribute of hell is separation from God’s presence), and set the captives free.

Now, we may not be in the garden. But it exists within us. The Holy Spirit. The most misunderstood of the trinity, resides within us. And we don’t know exactly what that means or what to do with it. Jesus was our example of what a spirit-led life looks like.

“(Jesus speaking) Nevertheless, I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.” —John 16:7

I pray that this Easter, you would read the story or watch an accurate depiction of the story of Christ, His death, and resurrection. That you would rediscover what it means to carry His Spirit within us and to release it to move through us in the Earth.

For now, I leave you with this:

If you were the only one on Earth, Jesus would still have died for you. He was a conduit of the Father’s great love for us and there is nothing so great a sin that His love didn’t cover.

God bless you all.

Advertisement

After Easter

This Easter was the very first I spent at home.

I can’t even remember a time when I missed both Good Friday and Easter service! But there I lay in misery (very sick with a sinus infection), as my husband took our baby to church without me.

I knew the church would be packed, the kids ministry filled. And that America at large would be handing their children Easter baskets filled with toys, eggs, bunnies, and chocolate. After attending church (possibly for the first and only time this year).

Being stuck at home gave me pause to contemplate Easter. As a new mother I’ve come to think more deeply about matters I once overlooked. I want my son to hold Easter and Christmas sacred. I don’t want him to get swept into a sugar rushed frenzy thinking, “what’s in it for me?”

I’m not saying that Easter baskets are bad, or egg hunts and other games. So long as when you ask your child what Easter is about they don’t answer, “getting gifts, eating candy, bunnies and eggs…” etc.

I know it’s hard to grasp what Jesus did for mankind. It was bloody, it was unselfish, but it was the only way to cleanse us.

We protect children (and should!) from the dark horrors of evil. But sometimes I think we shield them too much or even unnecessarily.

Working with children I’ve learned that many of them are very aware of this world. They see it on the news, on the computer, through video games, and even from their parents and life situations.

They need tangible real truth in order to find a real hope that never leaves them, and that they never outgrow. The truth can be messy but there is a way to get the point across without going into every detail.

I mean making your kids watch the movie, The Passion of the Christ, probably isn’t a good idea. But showing them a crown of thorns and explaining that what Jesus did wasn’t joyful for him like what their coloring pages represent, but quite painful and hard.

Making them aware that evil does exist and we truly needed a savior to save us. That the devil is real and he is defeated. But he does still roam the earth seeking to destroy God’s people in many ways.

Teach your children not to fear but to put on the full armor of God. That they are powerful and have authority that makes demons flee because of the Holy Spirit within them.

As time passes, year by year, this world only darkens. And our walls of protection around our children are crumbling in its wake. It’s so vital that they don’t crumble with them. Unprepared for what’s out there.

Would you rather the world teach them what is right and wrong? Why things are what they are? Who the enemy is?

As my son went to church I cried.

You see I know a little about the pain of letting go. He’s never really been apart from me for more than 4 hours or so, and not with his dad, at church.

It might sound silly, but as a first time mother you go through this a lot. Every time you let go of your child you are letting go of control. You are letting go of your heart and believing and trusting it to come back to you.

Someday my little man will be a man, and I’ll still be feeling this weight as he walks out the door and gets behind a wheel. As he faces this world and its many temptations and fleshly desires. It’s lies and persuasions masquerading as truth and goodness. I’ll have to trust him and know that I did my best to prepare him for it all.

I titled this post After Easter because every day we should thank Jesus and remember His great sacrifice for us. Every day we live in the “after” days, the new covenant. And that is something to celebrate! Jesus is alive!

And now I get to feel an even greater depth of this sacrifice as I hold my son. Jesus died for him before I ever knew him, before his first heartbeat, his first cry…his first sin. God paid for it all.

May God bless you all, as you continue to remember Jesus and as you bring up the next generation in truth. May the Holy Spirit guide you in all things and fill your hearts and homes with peace that passes understanding. Amen.

The Sacrifice

newsanctuary

“So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.” -John 19:30

Last night we had our first service in the newly remodeled sanctuary. I can’t imagine a more fitting time to reveal its completion than Easter. Our building remodeling is not yet complete, there’s still a lot of work to be done, and yet, walking into that sanctuary, it’s once yellow walls now white as snow, reminds us all of rebirth. That our old sinful selves have died, nailed to the cross that day when Jesus took the full weight of our punishment upon Himself. Now, just like the church walls, we are white as snow, and this idea of renewal, bringing dry bones to life, is at the very heart of what we are called to do.

We have been commissioned to change the world, one soul at a time.

And so, on Good Friday we all gathered together to remember what our Lord did for us, worshiping and reading the last words Jesus spoke before He died.

One thing stood out to me that I had never thought of before, though I knew in my heart that it was true. Jesus gave up his spirit. Just as we read earlier when Jesus was being tempted, He had the power, at any time, to call angels down from heaven to rescue Him (Matthew 4:6). Even when He was arrested and beaten, that power remained in Him, and finally, as He was nailed to the cross, and the people taunted Him saying, “if you are the Son of God, come down from the cross and save yourself!”(Mark 15:30), Jesus chose to remain there.

His final words that He called out for all to hear, profoundly demonstrated that THEY couldn’t kill Him, He CHOSE to die, to surrender His spirit and endure their punishment. In that way, Jesus became a true sacrifice.

Jesus was fully man and fully God, and so He suffered the cross as any man would, enduring pain we can’t even fathom, feeling alone and separated from His Father, and even turning down a drink of medicated wine (Matthew 27:34) that would have at least taken the edge off His suffering when He was so badly beaten He could barely stand let alone carry the cross.

Our Lord endured the worst suffering imaginable…and didn’t once change His mind, didn’t once hate the men and women who spat in His face, who beat Him and cursed Him, laughing at the sight of Him. That is love like we have never seen before, would you do that for a stranger? For your enemies?

This Easter, remember Jesus’ sacrifice, take a moment aside from family and friends to truly be alone with God, alone with Jesus. Read the story for yourself, watch The Passion of the Christ or Son of God movie. Let your heart be moved, your passion awakened, and the truth of the good news really sink in.

God bless you all this Easter and always.

 

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

-John 3:16

 

The Hammer

hammer and nails

What is love?
I hardly know
And I have lived
some time ago

As it happens
I saw a man
He staggered past
On bloodied sand

He wore a crown
of twisted thorns
And drug a cross
As people scorned

I didn’t know
That this was love
Poured out freely
From above

I followed Him
Amidst the crowd
Despite His pain
He wasn’t proud

He turned and looked
At every face
A familiar expression
I couldn’t place

And soon He made it
Up the hill
On His feet
He labored still

Until they pushed Him
To the ground
On that cross
He soon was bound

And it was then
I began to weep
Amidst it all
I couldn’t speak

I felt a love
So far and deep
With each pained cry
And hammer sweep

The sound I never
Will forget
As they nailed
His feet and wrists

And lifted He
Upon that cross
For all to see
For all to watch

Until the earth
Did shake and shout
And God himself
Came storming down

And as the chaos
So ensued
The veil was torn
As if in two

And so that’s how
The story went
But I can’t say
That’s all of it

In three days time
As you all know
Love came back
And took His throne

From that day on
I have believed
His love had changed
Everything

And in those moments
I fail to see
The swing of the hammer
Comes back to me

Reminding me
Of that day
A man named Jesus
Crossed my way

What is love?
Now I know
My life began
Some time ago