Lent devotional 38
Every year Good Friday comes and I fight to know what to say. Violence and suffering seems woven into the seams of earth and we as people have become so sensored to it that Golgatha just slips past as another sad story, but we feel nothing. But Jesus was not just anyone, He was ours. He did this for us, He has a personal connection to us. He loves us. We forget that when we see the man being scourged until his back had no flesh left, the man being dragged up the hillside, the man being laid on the cross and having metal spikes being driven into His feet and hands, the man choking on His own blood as fluid fills His lungs, the man being mocked in death and buried in secret, the God raising again as conqueror over sin and death-He is ours, we love Him, we are Him, by that I mean He took all that siffering so that all our sins and failures and mistakes would be taken onto Him so we wouldn’t have to spend a second in purgatory. Next time you see Jesus on a cross don’t simply pass Him by, stop, see yourself in His scars and thank Him.
Every hero has their costume. Without it, they simply don’t look heroic.
If John Wayne didn’t wear his hat he would still look like a hero to us, but that is simply because we have seen him in action. On the other hand if you saw All Might walking down the street in civilian clothes he would look, well, a little bit like a hippy; but full dressed in his hero outfit, he looks like the symbol of peace. Right? Right.
People can’t look at us and see that we are God’s heros. We are always in civilian wear. We can’t suit up and say, “fear not, for I am here!” Because we have nothing to suit up with. Like the Duke (John Wayne) we have to let people know what we are all about by our actions. If they see us acting like Jesus then they will know, “we are here to help✌.”
So, suit up everybody. It’s time to act like heros.
The flames will only make me stronger-Zeno
People often call the testing of God, “going through fire.”
Actually bad things in general are often called tests of fire too.
Right now it feels like the whole world is burning, being tested by fire.
One of my absolute favorite novel characters ends up in a burning building. You guessed it. Even though he is not the main hero he ends up having to save everyone from the collapsing, burning building. When the others argue about leaving him behind to be engulfed by fire he responds with: “don’t worry. The flames will only make me stronger.”
For those who are wondering, no, he does not die. Though badly burned, he makes it out alive.
Do we live like that? Do we see our “flames” as something that only makes us stronger?
I know that I don’t. Though the power and beauty of fire is nice at a distance, walking through that fire is not something to be called, “enjoyable”. But just because you hate it, and just because it hurts doesn’t mean that God isn’t making you stronger through it.
During these difficult times I challenge you to read through the story of the three Hebrew boys, pick the verse that most speaks to you, and put it up someplace in your home to remind you that the flames will make you stronger.
Jesus ascended to the Father before returning to see His friends. Recall, He told the women not to hold to Him because He had not yet ascended to the Father.
Imagine the party, the shouts of joy, the resonating songs, the moment Jesus’ feet touched Heaven once again. There you see God running to His boy and thrusting His arms around Him. There you see Father and Son weeping outloud, and laughing as they hold each other. It had been so very long and now they are together again. Watch the angels hoist Jesus onto their shoulders and cary Him to the party as the hosts and the guests of Heaven cheer and shout. The hero had returned. What a party for the hero who had been gone so long. How will we party when Jesus returns physically to us again?
Our feet feel the squish of who knows what? The air is some sort of un- breathable fume and the walls are wet like tar. But we asked to come, so here we are.
Wails trick our ears from every corner and sunshine is a distant memory, but there is hope. The jingle of keys in a strong and determined hand. Several people join our ranks, faces I never thought I would see as each door is opened. Jesus smiles as He sets the last of the captives free.
Imagine being there with Jesus. Walking through hell and setting the captives free. The Bible says that Jesus took the keys from the devil. You didn’t think He kept them as a souvenir did you? He used them to free those imprisoned by death. Death before Jesus would have been terrifying. Death now is a glorious reward, Heaven.
What would it have been like to walk through the devil’s territory and let free those who had been waiting there for Jesus? Imagine the joy. Imagine the disgust and horror the devil must have felt? It would have been glorious.
Thank you Jesus that we can live unto you and no longer have to fear death because you died for us. Amen.
Those fabulous last words that you place at the end of a story. After struggling, working hard and emptying the drug store of it’s caffeine content, you finally have the right amount of pages, the perfect centering, every title centered and highlighted, every art peice’s name placed on where they are to be inserted onto the page. Now you write. The End. And you take one final breath before sending it off.
The end. Jesus said it more eloquently when He stated, ‘it is finished.’ After all His struggles, all His suffering, all His hard work, now everything perfect to the writer as He closes the book and states. “It is finished.”
It is finished. There is no longer a curtain, no more need for a high priest to pray for us, no more need for sacrifices. It is finished. We have Jesus fully. We have God. We are in dwelled by the Holy Spirit. Heaven is now our prize too. It is finished.
I will follow you anywhere. Even past the realms of death to that which lies beyond.
So says a true friend.
I will go through death alone and move through what lies beyond alone for you. So says the truest friend. Jesus.
No matter where we go we are not alone; and for the places where we cannot go, Jesus goes alone without us to fight our battles for us.
Isn’t that an encouraging thought.
`Warning? Warning against what? ‘ said Boromir sharply.
‘Against delay. Against the way that seems easier. Against refusal of the burden that is laid on me. Against-well, if it must be said, against trust in the strength and truth of Men.’
The breaking of the fellowship, LOTR
Hard times come; some of which we can choose whether or not to accept. If we hold back from God’s will because we know the road will be hard, isn’t that wrong?
Tonight I heard my mom praying for the courage of Paul, it filled my heart. Paul’s courage was challenged and tested and yet still he fought on because he knew Jesus. He knew there was a greater reward. Never once did Paul hesitate to do God’s will and never once did he trust in the truth or strength of men. Now he is one of the most well known and debated upon authors in the Bible. Why? Because he refused the voice of the devil when he called him away from God. Paul had spent enough time doing the devil’s work that he knew it held no reward. Paul trusted in the God who saved him, Paul did not delay or deny God’s task. Paul went forth in courage because his faith was in God.
Oh, the things we can learn from God’s disciples.
Sever skin from bone
-Snap- the screams echo through the halls. It’s dark and dry. Thirst. Need. Fear. Pain. -Snap- another shriek. Your turn next.
Trembling. Is this an illusion? A nightmare? No. The tearing at your skin from the rats shows that’s not true. Is anyone out there? Someone to save you. -Clink- Doors open. “Leave!” Gruff voice. Daylight. Tears. Relief.
Not yours. Out comes a man. His face is twisted and he drags his body as he walks. You run over just in time to catch Him.
“Sir. Are you alright?” Blood soaks your palms. A weak smile. Sweat. More tears.
A whisper. “For you, I did this.” Death.
3 days. Arms lift you up and spin you around. ALIVE! RISEN! FREE!
I hear the best torture professionals could sever skin from bone with a single lash. Have you ever had a cut bone deep? I have; it’s agonizing, I still have the scar.
Imagine 49 of those covering your body.
They spare some details in the movies because I am sure that Jesus wasn’t free standing, He most likely was tied to something to hold him still when they beat Him. Also. He probably threw up blood till He couldn’t anymore. The screams and cries of anguish, (anguish we should have bore) would have been sickening to the audience. It would not have been anywhere near as gentle as we see it in our minds.
Image one hundred billion names or more tattooed on the end of the whip. Look closely. There is your name. No! Don’t look away! Watch as it drives itself into your savior’s back. That is why we serve Him.
I know most people will walk away from this and shake their heads and try to remove these images. But don’t. Lest we ever forget that Jesus SUFFERED and died. Those lashes were yours, and mine.
Day of tears
‘Today is my day to sorrow’, thought the tiny flower growing beside a rock. ‘Last night a great trouble came over me as a man, or something more than a man, sat by my side and wept. His tears were so great that when they splashed upon me I felt sick and my roots were weakened. I tried to reach out to the man, but I am just a flower and cannot draw attention to myself like a bird can with her song. He cried and screamed and begged and pleaded, but no peace came to this man. I hoped that He would look at me and I could make Him smile. He left and then returned, even sadder when He came back. All I could do was sit with Him. Then I sensed a resolve in His being and He went to stand once more. He stumbled and His hands landed near me. I tried to be radiant to bring Him comfort, finally He saw me, He smiled very gently, then He rose to His feet. “Thank you my radiant flower.” He said, then He left.
I feel that something great and tragic happened that night. Today I feel as though a friend is calling out for mercy. Today I feel sad. But being a flower, I know that tomorrow will bring new joy and hope.’