Oh, How He Loves Us!

iStock Photo by B-C Designs
iStock Photo by B-C Designs

What was the awesome power that kept Jesus, the Son of God, nailed to a weathered piece of wood, with spikes piercing his hands and his feet?

How was it possible for angry human hands to lay hold of Jesus, the Christ? How were they able to capture Him? What strength was available to those mocking soldiers with their furious faces? Even the sun was stunned, so traumatized by spitting scorners, cruel taunters, and the sight of a wounded Savior that it turned off the brightness of the afternoon and summoned midnight.

When He was captured in the garden, Jesus reminded Peter that He could have asked the Father for thousands of fighting angels to come to His defense. But we know why He did not. He who is King of Kings and worshipped by angels allowed those gritty human hands to subject Him to the cross. He did it because that was God’s plan. In their classic 1993 album, The Mississippi Mass Choir put the answer to our questions to music when they sang: “It wasn’t the nails that nailed Him to the cross. He could have come down, but my soul would still be lost. The ransom was so high, only He could pay the cost.”

Love held Him there. Christ volunteered to pay the ultimate sacrifice.

Yet, His great love for us does not grant us immunity from life’s tragedies or disappointments. I encounter people every day who ask relevant, real-world question–even in the light of the victory of the cross. “If Christ loves me, why did He allow my spouse to die?” “If He loves me, why is my financial situation so hopeless?” “If He loves me, why did I lose my home?” Why did I lose my job? Why didn’t He save my child?

I sat in a chair in the kitchen today chatting with my daughter as she shared the story of the sudden loss of a colleague’s wife. Inexplicably, someone who was there is suddenly gone. And this is a family of believers. “What do you say?” she asked me. These are questions that confront us, even on Resurrection weekend when we celebrate the deep love we embrace as Christians. How do we understand the cross; how do we understand a life of victory in a world where unfathomable pain is possible? How could hundreds of Christians be murdered in Kenya? Why are there one hundred individual stories of mistreated children, innocent people incarcerated for decades, the working poor robbed by unscrupulous predators…why?

Jesus chose the wood, the nails, and the thorns. He did it for our victory. He did it because, no matter what we encounter in life, He assures us that we win. We win over sin and death. We win over pain and grief. This victory replaces any darkness that threatens. We can stare it down. We have undefeatable joy and an anointing that prevails. After the crucifixion comes Resurrection Sunday. Amen, and Thank God!

Let us look only to Jesus, the One who began our faith and who makes it perfect. He suffered death on the cross. But he accepted the shame as if it were nothing because of the joy that God put before him. And now he is sitting at the right side of God’s throne.–Hebrews 12:2 NCV

Summer Is As Sweet As Apple Pie with Ice Cream

I marvel at the funny actions of my one-year old great granddaughter, Lizzie. She often walks around looking up at the ceiling…it’s as if she can see angels. When we look up and follow her gaze, we see nothing. Perhaps the cares of the world and the mundane concerns which come with decades of daily living have dimmed our abilities to see whatever it is that Lizzie sees. There is something remarkable about the uninhibited gaze of a toddler.

How wonderful it would be to see the world without eyes dimmed by years of skepticism or unbelief or hazed-over by life’s many disappointment. When I took Lizzie outside for a stroll the other day, I noticed that she does the same thing outdoors. She looks up and beholds something beautiful.

Life is wonderful all year long, but it is especially so in the summer. Summer is just sweeeet! I have decided that I will apply my “Lizzie gaze” to all that I behold in God’s beautiful world. I want to truly see the things I would ordinarily miss.

There is something about summer that allows us to recognize that God is everywhere! God is in every  movement; He is in every word that we speak. Whatever actions I take or perceptions I have, there is God!  When I rise up in the mornings and greet the summer sun beaming through my wide bedroom window, and whenever I eat or drink, rest or work–I meet God at every turn.

and he gives us the power to live, to move, and to be who we are.

“We are his children,” Acts 17:28—Contemporary English Version

God’s eye is upon us. He sees every action, every movement that we make. He feels every emotion of our hearts; He knows every thought before it is fashioned. He understands the words we are preparing to speak, even before we utter them.

Summer is another season of bliss, a time to rejoice in all that God has given us to enjoy. I rejoice in the angels seen only in the eyes of a toddler. And in a short summer rain falling softly on the roof. And in a slice of apple pie with a scoop of ice cream, eaten outdoors beneath a canopy of trees. All is of God. Since all is in God and of God, and since we are alive in Him, this is the day to rejoice in Him.  Today I thank Him for the deep, blessed, love-filled treasure of every breath that He gives.

 

God Made You and the Sun…You’re Both Awesome!

Back in March I authored a post about God’s awesome creation, the sun.  We rarely stop to think about how incredible it is.  I (reverently) called our marvelous sun a Bad Mama Jama.

Well, just a few days ago, NASA issued a new high definition video taken from the spacecraft which has been in operation for about two years.  It photographed sun tornadoes dancing across the sun’s surface.  These solar twisters blow with unbelievable force. What is so amazing is that we can see them.


This video reminds us that everything in the universe is energy.  It is the energy that our great God created.  Please take a moment to watch this video as an awesome reminder of the greatness of our God.

You are also His creation.  Just think of the energy and power He has placed in you and available to you, as you work to accomplish remarkable things.

With your faith, you can access the awesome power of God.  Here’s how

1) Look inward. Depend upon the guidance of the Holy Spirit to fill and to guide you, directing every thought and action.

2) Look up. Pray; thanking God for His anointing on your life.

3) Look around. Ask God for guidance to use His power in accomplishing your assignment on earth for the benefit of others.

God is awesome, and so are you.

Photo and video:  NASA/SDO