Preparing the Heart for Good Friday

Isaiah 53:5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
What is bad news for us is only made ‘good’ through the cross! Notice the responsibility: ‘our trangressions’, ‘our iniquities’, ‘we have gone astray’, ‘we have turned’ but Jesus takes it all upon himself on the cross. Take time to confess, repent, and acknowledge your culpability in the cross!

I Corinthians 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
What makes no sense to this world, is for us who believe, the very thing that gives our life meaning! The message of the cross is God’s power saving, forgiving, delivering and sustaining. What a cost Christ paid, what pain he accepted! Praise Him for his sacrifice, acknowledge your debt of gratitude.

1 Peter 2 :14 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.
All our sin is covered by the cross! Every heartbreak, disappointment, failure, and act of shame has been pierced through, condemned to death. Declare death to your guilt! Let the cross of Christ cover your pain and release your regrets. Die to sin! Live for righteousness! Christ has made the way!

1 John 4: 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
Look to Christ on the cross and see how bad things are, that He had to die for us! Look to Christ on the cross and see how good things are, He loved us that much! Receive His love, revel in it! Let the love of Christ mold you, shaping your heart & filling your soul with His purpose.

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Christ’s Love in Doubts & Darkness

George Matheson the author of this old hymn, renewed by Robbie Seay, provides a treasure of encouragement for those in the valley . Through a deep time of personal pain and doubt he wrote about his eclipse of faith. He endured a time so dark he, for a season, left the ministry. On top of the prior hymn, he also wrote a testimony of hope for believers who at times struggle with doubt, for those who…
-hear not the bells of Easter mourn
-tread the road to Emmaus but don’t meet the risen Christ
-stand on the mount of Galilee but hear no voice
-frequent the Upper Room but get no hint of his presence

Matheson says “My faith cannot walk by sight in hours like these. Lord what shall I do? Hast thou a remedy for the loss of light? Yes, my Father, Thou hast a gate where faith can enter without seeing where it goes. Its name is love.”

He powerfully continues, crying out, “If I cannot soar with Him in heaven, let me at least go back to finish his work on earth. Let me mourn with the Martha’s whose Lazarus’ I cannot raise. Let me pray with the paralytics whose weakness I cannot cure. Let me sing to the sightless whose eyes I cannot open. Let me lend to the lepers the touch of a brothers hand. Let me find for the fallen a chance to renew their days. Then shall my Easter morn shine again through all the clouds of night. Then shall I know the meaning of the words, ‘Blessed are they who have not seen and yet have believed.‘ ”

The love of Christ is sure and strong! Our only hope is found in Jesus and his redeeming love. He will not fail, He will not forget, He will not falter! So we too, with Matheson declare…

O love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in Thee;
I give Thee back the life I owe,
That in Thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be

My Favorite Christmas Lyric

I am not ashamed to admit that I’ve already got the Christmas spirit, or either it’s gotten me. I love the old songs of Christmas and the deep truths conveyed in many of the lyrics. Possibly my favorite one of all time is from O Holy Night. This verse about Jesus never fails to reach out and wreck my heart, even if it’s when I’m in the middle of the cereal aisle…

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.

So what is your favorite line from a Christmas song?