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What’s so good about Good Friday?

Do you ever find it odd that we call today Good Friday when very little good that happened that day? Jesus started His week entering Jerusalem to shouts of praise and “Hosanna to the King!” but by Friday He stood bruised and beaten before a judge, awaiting His sentence of death.

None of this was a surprise to Jesus. This was the culmination of His mission – His ultimate purpose in coming to earth, but knowing the purpose didn’t make it easy or less painful. Remember Jesus was fully & completely man. He was as human as you and me.

Jesus felt every time the whip hit His skin and broke it open.

The air stung his wounds but they didn’t stop.

Over and over He was lashed.

Jesus felt the thorns press into His scalp, burying themselves into His skin for the duration of the day.

He felt each fist that struck His face

…but He never showed anger towards His enemies. He stood there and took it.

The mocking of the soldiers hurt too. While Jesus had the love of God and knew that the words weren’t true they still impacted Him. Perhaps the worst pain of all was watching each of His disciples flee from those who arrested Him, fearing the same fate for themselves. And then Peter. The friend who just the day before had declared his allegiance to Jesus denied that he knew Him three times.

It’s difficult to comprehend the physical pain Jesus went through, but when I stop and think about it I am so grateful He went through with it all.

He didn’t have to, you know.

Then there was the long walk up the hill towards the place He would die. Think of the pictures and films you’ve seen of Jesus carrying, or perhaps dragging the cross to Golgotha. That cross, likely weighing over 100 pounds, pressed down on an already weakened Christ as He moved toward His last hours. At the top of the hill Jesus stopped walking and allowed nails to be pounded into His hands and feet, hanging Him on that same cross He carried.

Jesus walked that road for you and for me.

At any time Jesus could have called an end to all of this. All the while Jesus hung on the cross people taunted and teased Him to save Himself, or call the angels to take Him down off the cross. What His mockers didn’t realize that Jesus could have. At any moment He could have proven He is God and didn’t have to hang there.

But He didn’t.

When Jesus Christ called out from the cross “It is finished!” He was speaking of death’s curse over the earth. The curse of death came when Adam and Eve chose to sin. From that moment on we have been separated from God’s perfection by sin – our sin. Jesus lived His life on earth without sin, then allowed Himself to be killed as the final sacrifice for each of us.

This is the GOOD that came from Good Friday!!

Any man, woman or child who believes Jesus is Christ our Savior and accepts Him as Leader of his or her life will also conquer death and will live forever in a perfect Heaven.

On this Good Friday, take some time from your Easter preparations to relive the events of Christ’s crucifixion and reflect on the price Jesus paid. He paid that price for you! I’m so grateful He did.

Oh Jesus, how could You have made that long walk to Your death? You were weak from beatings, weary from mocking, and weighed down by both the cross You carried and the sins of every person who ever lived or will live.

I am humbled and so grateful You made the choice to endure this for me and for each one who believes. Thank you hardly seems like enough.

Lord, please never let us forget the price You paid and the pain You endured to save me from eternal death. I can never fully comprehend and thank You seems like hardly enough, but it’s all we have to offer. Thank You for the cross. Thank You for the price You paid. Thank You for loving us more than we can comprehend.

 

As Easter weekend approaches with the Easter eggs, chocolate bunnies, and family time, please take some time to consider the price Jesus paid to make this Easter more than a celebration of Spring. If all of this talk of the cross, Jesus’ sacrifice and the free gift of Salvation doesn’t make sense to you, please ask me, or seek out someone who can answer your questions.  Make this Friday the best Friday you’ve ever experienced, and this Easter one you’ll never forget.

Blessings to you all!
Paula

 

 

 

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Color Outside of the Lines!

I appeal to you therefore, brothers,by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. – Romans 12:1-2 ESV

Do you like to do paint-by-number or color-by-number pictures? I used to enjoy them when I was a kid, diligently working to make my finished project look like the one on the box. I still enjoy the relaxation that coloring in coloring books brings me. There’s no pressure to decide what I’m going to draw or color, I just fill in the lines. It helps relieve stress I might be carrying and gives me a sense of satisfaction to complete a picture. What I didn’t realize is that I sometimes try to live my life as if it were a picture to be colored or a paint-by-number to be filled in.

Life is not intended to be color-by-number! Romans 12:2 urges us to offer our bodies as sacrifices, not conforming to the pattern of the world, but being transformed by the renewing of our minds. Patterns presented in the form of other people can be helpful guidelines, but God didn’t create me or you to be an exact pattern of another earthly person. Striving to duplicate the life of another only brings us stress and a sense of failure. If you and I don’t allow God to put His unique touch on us, the picture of our lives won’t turn out the way He intended.

Have you ever been to one of those painting places where everybody paints the same picture guided by an instructor? At the end of the class time no one’s painting looks the same although they all worked off of the same example. I believe the Christian life is meant to be similar to this. God has given us commandments to follow and examples in other faithful Christians who came before us, but God never intended for us to be those other Christians. God meant for us to look at the example that they set and how they point back to Him, helping us live and serve God and others better.

When we present ourselves to God day by day and ask for His guidance on how we can best serve Him we will find freedom in being who God created us to be. As we work and play alongside other Christians we will find how we complement each other and can encourage each other through our journey. Our differences can strengthen our relationships as we learn from each other and allow fellow believers to fill in spaces of our pictures where we are lacking color or shading. We will find our lives to be fuller and more satisfying, both to us and the Lord.

I encourage you today friends, don’t try to live your life as an exact duplicate of anyone else but Jesus! Look at who God has placed in your life as positive examples and ask Him how you might add some of what they have to your picture, and don’t be afraid to color outside the lines! Let the Lord show you where you are limiting yourself by trying to conform to a pattern He has not intended for you and push beyond those limits. Watch how your unique strengths and even weaknesses can be used to make you a beautiful picture, pleasing to the Lord and encouraging to others.

Go wild today and paint a beautiful picture!!

Blessings…
Paula