Hello Friends! Today is a special day out of the yearly calendar . . . Good Friday. It is a time when I take the entire day to intentionally contemplate the great sacrifice that Jesus Christ made on behalf of all mankind who choose to accept the precious gift of God’s grace. We can never earn our way to a Holy, perfect God. Yet, God Himself arranged for the price of sin to be paid so that we (any who choose to) may exchange the punishment that we deserve for God’s grace that we do not. To anyone who has been hesitant in accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior… I have but one question… why?
What person who has thrown an expensive party and then had the party coordinator come to them with hundreds or thousands of dollar’s worth of bills come to him before the entire party and torn those expense statements all up with the announcement “I am not charging you a single penny!”…which person would then reach for his wallet or checkbook and not graciously accept the gift?!
You see, that’s what God did for us. He took the debts we owe and cancelled them. We deserved God’s wrath, but instead God provided the perfect payment… His spotless sacrificial Lamb (Jesus Christ). The sinless took on all the sin for all time! Because Jesus paid it all, we are allowed to be called “children of God”. The price has been paid. . . so put your wallet of “good deeds” away! Accept God’s grace and pay it forward in how you treat others. As God has forgiven, how can we not forgive? As God has given, how can we not receive?
Salvation can be yours and there is no better time than RIGHT NOW! Yes it is Friday and a terrible price was paid, but . . .Sunday is coming and there is a glorious future coming!
Here is the link to the Good Friday Poem that I wrote. http://ellen5e.com/p/good-friday-poem/
I WELCOME YOUR COMMENTS… please
First, Here is an excellent blog by my friend Lisa that spurred my writing this post: http://lisa.ridleybarron.com/2012/09/13/i-am-worried/
**I recently came to the realization that I was being “overwhelmed by life” instead of “living life with the Overcomer”.
Although the demands and stressors are ongoing and seem to invite friends to the pile of problems… Praise God!!…He, in His foreknowledge and mercy provided the solution to WHEN I worry. When I sigh or groan in exasperation, I can almost hear the Lord say to me…”WHAT are you doing?… What ARE you doing?…What are YOU doing?… What are you DOING?”. Try that; ask yourself those questions with the stress placed on the different words. Eye-opening isn’t it?
It’s time to pick up the clue phone and give an answer! That’s just it: I am sinning. I am not focused on what (Who) is really important. When I am worried, I am trying to take control of everything, have it go my way. Then, when it doesn’t go according to MY plan, I throw an entitled hissy fit! How childish! How wrong!
Like watching a toddler trying to lift something entirely to heavy to carry with him, God must first laugh at our folly, then shake His head in disbelief of our stubbornness, and finally compassionately call us back to Him. “It’s too heavy for you Little One. You are trying to carry too much. Let ME carry what is important to you. I will give you what you need, when you need it.”
My very first thing was prayer. “God help me, I am wrong!” Lately, with an unusual influx of a greater deluge of unavoidable and major life changes, I have called out to accountability and prayer partners to help keep me from falling back. In addition, to the Word of “lean not on your own understanding,” I also refocus with “seek ye FIRST the kingdom of God and HIS righteousness..”. And THEN “all these things will be added unto you”.
My experience has shown me that worry is usually the result of me being misaligned. Therefore, when I am convicted by the Holy Spirit’s loving correction I get it straight. It is a very deliberate action. First comes God and His plan. Then I fall under Him. What I am, do and accomplish is a reflection of how well I focus on my most important purpose in Christian living. Joy replaces frustration when I am doing so with the acknowledgment that it is God Himself in whom I live, move and have my being.
Why do I get so worked up about ‘being in control’ when I never was able to really control anything anyway? Isn’t it ironic that the more I worry about control, the less I actually have and the more I worry? I am breaking that vicious cycle right now! Rather, I am determining to stand in the victory of the One who has already freed me. It is so much more freeing to allow the Master of it all to orchestrate it all while I allow Him to control me.
[Remember: Runaway Pursuit plus encouragement (even thru suffering) =transformed lives.]
Today finds me in a prison of sorts… unlike the Apostle Paul, mine are not physical chains, but chains of my uncooperative physical body. Like Paul, I used the time 0f solitude to focus on the things of God. Listening to Moody Bible Institute Radio, I heard a Christian teacher talking about Onesimus.. I’d like to learn more about the lives and bibliography of Ignatius and Onesimus. I became inspired to write this.
Ignatius of Antioch was an early church leader who wrote letters of encouragement to different churches even while being escorted to be martyred in the Roman Colosseum by lions.
The Biblical “postcard”of Philemon (an epistle written by the apostle Paul that is a part of the canon of Scripture) tells about a man named Onesimus. We are told that Onesimus was a runaway slave of a Christian named Philemon who Paul also formerly saw come to faith in Christ. The Apostle Paul took on the plight of Onesimus as one would a son. Paul told him that he needed to return to the master he’d wronged (Philemon). However, in a letter that Onesimus carried with him, Paul pleaded for the runaways debts and punishment to be accounted to Paul himself. He offered to take the wrong upon himself for the sake of another! Does that theme sound familiar?
In obedience, the runaway slave stepped out in faith and repented. He returned to the master he’d wronged and not only was granted grace-filled forgiveness, but, as a result, Onesimus became better equipped to live out that grace. According to history, Onesimus… this disobedient runaway slave… went on to become a bishop at Ephesus! How awesome is that?
EVERY Christian was once a runaway. The Bible teaches that we ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We ALL like sheep have gone astray and turned to our own way.
Yet, it was when the shining light of God’s spirit and truth pierces our sinful heart that we are freed from sin’s hold on us. We are delivered by the saving work of Jesus Christ when He took the penalty for our sins. He did so “once and for all”! Hallelujah, what a Savior!
If God so greatly desired a right relationship with me that He sent His only son to die, what will I sacrifice for right relationships and for eternal purposes?
This prayer that I pray today is not only for myself, but for all of my siblings in God’s family. >>
I pray that I never live so long in the family of God, that I have forgotten having once been outside of it. May I always remember that my own unpardonable sins have been forever forgiven. May I actively pursue the mission of the Gospel gift … that grace and forgiveness are still the means for welcoming others into God’s family.
God please empower us with your Spirit and use us to reach the runaways. Help us to pursue them with the love that they need– the Love that is You!
All for Your Glory, Amen.
May our runaway pursuit (passion for the Gospel) drive us to pursue the runaway!