So many people are gathered, this hill can’t possibly contain them all. And, there He is, gasping for air and struggling to breath. I can barely bring myself to look at him. Women are weeping somewhere behind me, but I couldn’t stay in the shadows, I had to be up close to see for myself. Dogs are barking and above the murmur of so many voices I am acutely aware of others yelling at him. Mocking him and insulting him. It is hot and sticky and the smell of people surround me on all sides. It is suffocating. The taste of dust and dirt linger in my mouth, as if the sandals of a hundred legion of soldiers have just marched past. I am in deep despair that this man, who is kind, gentle, strong, compassionate and loving would allow this to happen. Why? Why did he bring his best friend back from the dead yet allow this to be done to him?
I want to scream, “Come down from there!” But then, there are all those soldiers and an angry mob, would they crucify me too? I’m panicking now, I don’t know what to do. The man who knows all about me, everything I’ve ever done and yet, he stills loves me, is dying. How will I sit at his feet ever again? How will I feel his presence?
Tears are flowing freely down my face now and to myself I cry, “Come down from there, please, come down from there.”
And when they came to a place called Golgotha, which means Place of a Skull, they gave Him wine to drink mixed with gall; and after tasting it, He was unwilling to drink.
And when they had crucified Him, they divided up His garments among themselves by casting lots. And sitting down, they began to keep watch over Him there. And above His head they put up the charge against Him which read, “THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”
At that time two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and one on the left. And those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking Him and saying, “He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him. “HE TRUSTS INGOD; LET GOD RESCUE Him now, IF HE DELIGHTS IN HIM; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” The robbers who had been crucified with Him were also insulting Him with the same words.
Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?” that is, “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?” And some of those who were standing there, when they heard it, began saying, “This man is calling for Elijah.” Immediately one of them ran, and taking a sponge, he filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and gave Him a drink. But the rest of them said, “Let us see whether Elijah will come to save Him.” And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many. Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”
He couldn’t and he wouldn’t come down form there. He allowed this because his love for you is unfathomable. He died so you could live. His death paid your penalty for your sins now and forevermore.
Precious One, the good news is – He still lives! You can always be in his presence and at his feet. Simply choose to believe.
I love the hope of these verses. They remind us to remember God is able. We don’t have to strive, he cares for us and wants His best for us. He gives us the capacity for every decision we make because we are made in His divine image. We simply need to remember to ask. Ah, yes, I know, it’s the remembering to ask. Many times we are so intent on working things out for ourselves we forget to ask God for help. Or, maybe we remember to ask for his help but we have forgotten how to wait patiently for his answer.
A few weeks ago my husband and I needed to make an important decision. The ‘old’ us, from not long ago, would have conferred with one another, and if we agreed on a course of action, would follow through in our agreement, however, one important aspect was left out, we would forget to seek God’s wisdom before making a decision. This particular time we decided to commit our concerns to God and wait for his answer, praying for his wisdom and knowledge on how to proceed. Three days later, he provided exactly what we needed and we felt confident and at peace with the decision we made. Is it really this simple? I believe it is, but many times we might allow our worldly decisions from the past to interfere, or the enemy comes in with lies attempting to discredit God’s integrity and the truth of his word, or we are just plain impatient!
It is a process and we are all works in progress. The word power in the above verse is God’s intrinsic ability at home in us helping us to grow everyday. It is sanctification cultivating us toward glorification! Hallelujah! His power in you is his marvelous work.
You are a marvelous work, that is your identity in Christ, sanctification that is your inheritance in Christ and the choice to ask him for his help is your authority in Christ!
Precious One, live marvelously, live loved, live in His divine image!
Not long ago I read something to the effect of God speaking only through his written word and implying that God does not talk to people on behalf of others or for the masses but that when He speaks to someone it is for that person only. This left me feeling very unsettled and because I am an internal processor it has taken me awhile to reconcile why I was feeling this way.
I believe, without any doubt, God speaks to us mainly through his word. That is why reading and studying his word is so vital to our spiritual health. But, I also believe God speaks to us in different ways; through dreams, visions, pictures and prayer. I also believe God gives us messages of encouragement and prophetic messages to be given away to others. He has done this through me many times and I always suggest to the one who is receiving a word from God through me that they take this spoken word to God and ask God what part of it is from him and what part of it can be tossed out, because many times my human-ness and my impressions can be mixed in with the message from God.
It is the hearer’s responsibility to be alone with God and pray about what was given. Oughtn’t we be doing this on a regular basis to begin with? Most of us attend church on Sunday or Bible study during the week, simply because one has been anointed by God to preach or teach does not mean we will ever get it right one hundred percent of the time, again, it is the hearer’s responsibility to go God and ask God for his discernment on what was preached or taught.
Paul gave these words of wisdom about worship in 1 Corinthians 14:26b.
When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All these must be done for the strengthening of the church. 1 Corinthians 14:26b.
When we always imply that what God speaks to one person should be only for that person we negate the truth of God’s word. All of these things including prophecy, further in the passage Paul addresses prophecy, are meant to strengthen the Bride of Christ! Have they and are they currently misused? Yes, BUT it is each believers responsibility to go to God and ask for his wisdom, his discernment on what was spoken or taught. Let’s give each other the freedom in Christ and encouragement to seek the spiritual gifts Holy Spirit wants to lavish on us; gifts that are meant for the greater good of the entire Church.
Precious One, “Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21.
I love when I come across Scripture that tells me my identity in Christ because it helps me to know the truth of who God says I am versus the lies the enemy has spoken to me for years. When I come across identity truths my mind first grabs ahold of them and I begin to process, (I’m an internal processor), at the same time the Holy Spirit begins to permeate my heart, soul and spirit with the truth. Sometimes, many times, this can create a conflict within me; my mind knows and understands the truth but my heart refuses to believe the truth and so my mind and heart battle against one another. The Holy Spirit continues to whisper the truth over me and gently starts the healing process that eventually creates the shift from mind knowledge to heart knowledge.
Here is an interesting truth and a golden nugget to ponder for today or for many days. In John 17:9,10 Jesus says this:
I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. John 19:9,10.
We read here that glory came to Jesus because of us! The ‘them’ in this verse is every believer in Christ. Jesus goes on to say this in John 17:22:
I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one -John 17:22.
Not only did we bring glory to Jesus but He gives us the glory God gave him because of us! You understand now why my brain needs to process before my heart can follow along.
The original Greek definition of glory is the unspoken manifestation of God and conveys his infinite and intrinsic worth. Simply stated glory is a divine quality that clearly shows God and speaks to his limitless (infinite) and genuine (intrinsic) worth.
Glory is true identity in every believer in Christ and it’s purpose is so that we may be one in Christ with each other just as Christ and God are one.
Precious One, you are glory. May you grab ahold of this truth, process it and walk in the victory of your identity in Christ.
Ever since I can remember, I have wanted to see angels. I am a visual person and there are a lot of things about God’s word that I desire to ‘see’. Angels is one of them.
God’s word has several instances, that are recorded, of others being approached by angels. Take Mary for instance, Jesus’ mother, she was approached by the angel Gabriel, who said to her, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” and told she would conceive a child and name him Jesus and he would be the Son of the Most High.
Right before Mary’s encounter with Gabriel, Scripture tells us that Gabriel spoke to Zechariah, the husband of Elizabeth, who was Mary’s cousin and told Zechariah that Elizabeth would became pregnant with John the Baptist. Gabriel said to Zechariah, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard.”
One of my favorite encounters is when an angel of the Lord approaches Gideon and greets him with, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.” Is it just me or how cool is that, that the angel of the Lord greets Gideon as a mighty warrior?!
I’ve never really stopped to ponder the reactions of those approached by angels in God’s word until now. Mary was troubled by the angels words, Zechariah was startled by the appearance of Gabriel and Gideon, oh Gideon, he carried on a conversation with the angel as if it was the most natural thing to do! Maybe that is why his angel encounter is one of my favorites!
Yesterday I was leaving the grocery store, (I’m not sure what it is about grocery stores, but God always invites me into his work there!), and as I was getting ready to cross the parking lot to my car, out of the corner of my eye I saw a lady sitting on a bench in front of the store. I didn’t even make full eye contact with her but somehow she knew I had seen her. She very quietly asked me for a quarter. The first peculiarity is that I actually heard her quiet request crystal clear. As I reflect now, the second peculiarity is that she asked for only a quarter. I immediately told her that I did have a quarter and began to take out my wallet. Before she began to walk toward me she said, “I’m sorry, please forgive me.” I told her there wasn’t anything for her to be sorry about. As she approached me she did so with a slight limp. I asked if I could pray with her and instantly she grabbed both my hands, held tight and bowed her head. Before I began to pray I asked her name and what happened to her leg. I prayed a simply prayer of God’s love, provision and healing touch upon her.
Here is peculiarity number three, from the time this sweet woman approached me until now this thought keeps running through my mind, “This is an angel, this is an angel.” Even as I was praying, I was thinking, “This is an angel.”
Precious One, may you remain alert and aware, who knows but God, that some days you may be touched by an angel.
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2.