On the one hand Death is the triumph of Satan, the punishment of the Fall, and the last enemy. Christ shed tears at the grave of Lazarus and sweated blood in Gethsemane: the Life of Lives that was in Him detested this penal obscenity not less than we do, but more. On the other hand, only he who loses his life will save it. We are baptized into the death of Christ, and it is the remedy for the Fall.
Death is, in fact, what some modern people call “ambivalent.” It is Satan’s great weapon and also God’s great weapon: it is holy and unholy; our supreme disgrace and our only hope; the thing Christ came to conquer and the means by which He conquered.
~C.S. Lewis, Miracles
Bury a child and suddenly the death of Christ becomes oh, so personal.
The image of Mary at the foot of the cross is too hard to bear.
In a society drowning in bad ‘news’, apathy can seem an attractive alternative to absorbing the insane amount of planetary pain the Internet brings to our attention every waking moment. However, the antonyms of apathy are not absorption, activism or even emotionalism; they are sympathy, sensitivity and concern.
Alicia Britt Chole
Holy gets angry.
When the things that break God’s heart break mine, it’s natural and right that my spirit cries for justice.
Jesus drove the money changers from the temple because they had turned the space God intended as invitation for prayer and seeking into a space of convenience. “Holiness”-meeting the requirements of the Law and its sacrifices-was being used as an excuse to exclude the very ones the Lord was wooing.
Hey-I get it.
I’m overwhelmed every single day by the enormity of pain, suffering and injustice that greets me when I open my computer.
But like I’ve said over and over and over-I may not be able to do great things but I can do small things with great love. I may never do anything that makes headlines but I can do something every day that makes headway into the life and heart of those around me.
Apathy is an excuse. It’s not one God rewards.
Where is God leading your heart to take action?
Who is God placing in your path that needs help or encouragement?
What part of your immediate sphere of influence can be changed if you choose to get involved?
**As promised, I am sharing thoughts on 40 DAYS OF DECREASE (a Lenten journal/devotional). If you choose to get and use the book yourself, I’ll be a day behind in sharing so as not to influence anyone else’s experience.**
If we can keep the vision of how much mercy has been poured out on our own hearts and in our own lives, it is so much easier to pour it out on others. We don’t have to manufacture it-we only have to be a willing conduit of the mercy already overflowing from God’s heart to our own.
When the deputy delivered the news that Dominic was gone, my heart broke wide open, its contents spilled on the floor.
But I knew it would not remain empty for long.
It would be filled with something.
And I begged God to fill it so full of love, grace and mercy that bitterness, unforgiveness and anger would be squeezed out with no room to stay.
If you want to truly appreciate the New Testament you’ve got to begin in the Old.
Jesus is written on every page, revealed in increasing measure in every story.
From Genesis to Revelation, God the Father displays His purpose, plan and passion for His children.
The ultimate unveiling is Immanuel-God with us.
And so the Living Expression became a man and lived among us! And we gazed upon the splendor of his glory, the glory of the One and Only who came from the Father overflowing with tender mercy and truth!
John 1:14 TPT
Ever since Eden, humankind was banished from unafraid, uninhibited communion with our Maker.
Sin separated us from His holy Presence.
When the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt He led them with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. He had Moses construct a Tabernacle for His Presence to rest in the midst of His people but they still had to remain afar off.
Only Moses could come near. And when he left the Tabernacle, he wore a veil to hide God’s glory reflected on his own face.
And then came Jesus-His perfect life, sacrificial death and victorious resurrection-removed the veil.
He revealed God’s glory and holiness.
But He also revealed God’s mercy, grace and truth.
The Law teaches hearts that no one can measure up.
Christ teaches that because He fulfilled the Law, if we trust His finished work we don’t have to.
Our God who breathes stars, He breathed Bethlehem’s Star, then took on lungs and breathed in stable air.
Our God who formed and delivered the heavens, He waited patient like an embryo in a womb and delivered Himself to free all humanity. Our God who cradles whole galaxies in the palm of His hand, whom highest heavens cannot contain, He folds Himself into our skin and He curls His newborn fist in the cradle of a barn feed trough — and we are saved from ourselves.
We are saved from our hopelessness — because God came with infant fists and opened wide His hand to take the nail sharp edge of our sins.
We are saved from our pain — because God pierced the dark and came to the pinpoint of us in the universe and He took the nails.
We are saved from our loneliness — because God is love that can’t stand to leave us by ourselves, to ourselves. The entire cosmos sings it leading up to Christmas Eve:
We are not alone.
We are a pinpoint in the universe that is now nailed to eternity because of the wood of a manger, of a Tree, of a crowning wreath of thorns.
Before they sinned, Adam and Eve enjoyed open fellowship with God. They walked together in the cool of the evening. But disobedience and distrust ruined it. Jesus paid the price to restore fellowship. Have you thought recently about the great value of that gift? How have you felt His Presence this Advent season?
Jesus took on flesh and walked among men as the living, breathing embodiment of God. He wasn’t primarily an example (although He was the perfect example). He came to be a sacrifice. God’s holiness is beautiful but frightening. His grace and mercy are beautiful and inviting. How have you experienced the grace and mercy of the Lord?
Do you ever feel alone, abandoned or forgotten? Does it help your heart to meditate on Immanuel-God with us?
You could have started over and abandoned us. But your love compelled You to reach out and reach down to make a way.
Jesus is that Way.
He came to reveal more than your glory and holiness. He came to reveal your mercy, grace and truth.
He showed us your heart.
It’s a heart of love and good intentions toward me. Help me trust that heart when I can’t trace your hand. Give me assurance of your Presence no matter how dark the night or desperate the circumstance.