Friday, March 25, 2016

Because He Is Good

Isaiah 53: 3-5 "He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows, and aquainted with grief; 
and like one whom men hide their face, 
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. 
Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; 
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, 
Smitten of God and afflicted. 
But He was pierced through for our transgressions, 
He was crushed for our iniquities..."

Today is Good Friday. Why is it good, you ask?  Christendom takes the bread and breaks it, drinks of the cup and ponders on the good, THE GOOD of what transforms us, pushes us through into the Holy of Holies, passed the torn veil and into a New Covenant, a new promise of Hope, the everlasting riches of His divine glory.

Think back on a day you totally felt ashamed, worthless, sick to your stomach for a horrible decision, unforgiven, guilty, angry, desperate...

Now imagine every human being that ever lived taking those same thoughts and feelings, putting them in a backpack and placing them on the shoulders of Christ. Still, this was only one day, one set of emotions multiplied by all of humanity, the ones we admit, the ones we'd really like to see forgiven. What about all the others, the ones we still covet, hold on to, wrestle with, keep secret, deny...?

Jesus Christ on that Cross took on all of humanity's sin, the obvious and the hidden, the defined and the undefined, the tragic disregard and the intentional and blatant self-serving hedonism of mankind, all of it, and then He died...Because He is Good and we are not!

That sin, that affliction we carry, that sickness deep in our lungs, that infection in our gut, those nervous anxieties and restless nights, that heavy burden that drowns us and keeps us from true joy...He absorbed into his God-man skin, into the very Holy cells of His righteous Being, circulating through His heart, each beat calling out our name to the Father, "Forgive them..."

And this is the Gospel Truth (Mark 15).

Good Friday is Good because it is so personal. It is you He sees from the Cross, you whose sin He gathers and burns.

Break the bread and partake of His goodness, remember His body bruised and crushed. Savor the Bread of Life and His sustaining grace that fills us with awe and wonder. Sip from the cup of His Salvation, the River of Life that floods the deluge of sin to revive and transform us for His glory.

Victory awaits us. A triumphant celebration prepares. Faith is forged and Hope is renewed. For this is not the end of the Good. Good continues eternal.

All that He requires is your humble heart.

"Blessed are those who are poor in spirit ( to know their need for God), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:4

Father, it is incomprehensible the depth of Your Good Love for us, for me. Yet You show me everyday how to do this life, how to live in joy, how to conquer sin and be a light. You do that in such personal ways that encourage me to want to know You even more intimately and share Your plan, worship You with abandon and fellowship with others--THE plan of Love that moves us into the everlasting eternity spent with You. Thank you Father God for sending Your Son to die for me on that Cross, for Your plan to have communion again with us sinners. May we remain always humble and willing to be obedient to Your calling, sharing the Good that is You, Amen.

Friday, March 11, 2016

A Step in the Right Direction

Proverbs 16:9 "The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his step."

An important ministry for women I and many others devote ourselves all year to is temporarily suspended due to unforeseen changes in administration. A search for new leadership and God's timely directive in it all awaits us. The last two events continued as scheduled and our ministry teams  stepped up to provide the support for each other to allow this amazing night to proceed. 

In the six years "Coffee Break" has taken place, this last Monday night astounded us in every aspect, with an affirmation that this particular event will continue, grow and inspire us to be authentic and obedient in telling our story for His glory. 

When man plans to honor the Lord, He will surely direct the steps towards success! It takes communication, trust, a passion and a lot of prayer when a challenge comes, but how would we ever grow or see the beauty of the path if we didn't stop and take it in, re-evaluate and rally for what we know is a beautiful road of hope. We encouraged each other to persevere. It was said, "Coffee Break is writing its own story," and I found that to be true. Through this challenge, I got to know a few other woman better, encourage one another all the more and see God's direction illuminated in our leadership; our purpose, to share the hope of the Gospel through testimony. 

We played a game that night. We had to place a paper plate on our head and with a pen, blindly draw a picture, one step given at a time. 

Draw the ground. Now draw a house. Draw a door on your house, add windows. Place a tree in your picture. Add a sun. Some clouds, etc. After we were finished, we all looked at our drawing, our scribbles, and determined if we placed our pens and drew the picture to look as if these icons appeared relatable. 

Sometimes, life seems like that. We are blindly trying to create a "picture" of what we think we want and we just can't imagine the finished result because it just seems like a finger-painting, not the Renoir we pictured. It can be frustrating. But God sees what we cannot. If we trust Him with our hand--our lives to continue to guide us and follow His directive, we can be assured that what He is creating in us is a masterpiece and reflective of His glory. Your sun might even have a smiling face and a butterfly grace your view of heaven. 

Last night my son left his friend's house a little too late, about an hours drive home. While getting on the two lane highway not known for its safety, a bad accident happened just ahead of him. Two cars collided head-on when one car made an obvious unsafe attempt to pass a big rig on a hill. There were fatalities and a closure of the highway. My son and several other drivers were stuck behind the  scene, unable to move, turn around or proceed anywhere. He sat in his car for the next 5 hours in the middle of the night in the cold desert. 

How do I know all this? He called me, I called him, he called me. All night long, I lay awake as he did, resting, but calling every hour or so to check on the progress, make sure he was safe and staying awake, and encouraged. Someone at home was waiting for him, he wasn't alone and though tragedy and wreckage surrounded him, love still lit up his phone. Concern and hope still encouraged him in this lonely frustrating time in which he had no control over. The Lord directed his steps to be behind the caution tape and not inside it. Thank you Lord!  

Father God, we thank you for teaching us to trust you when things just go another way, not as we planned. Help us Lord to keep that trust and grow that trust, encouraging one another in love and hope. Help us Lord to slow down and look for obstacles and not have head-on collisions with doubt and fear. When things get out of our own control, surround us with the right people to inspire us and lift us up to see where our eyes should keep focused. Even when we feel we can't see beyond our own limitations, help us Lord to keep at Your directives, Your loving words because with each faithful step, You Lord are creating in us something glorious, something the world can see a bit of You in, a pathway to Your door of everlasting and abundant life. Amen.