The Scars Are Proof

Keep Going“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” ―Winston Churchill

Have you ever thought how Jesus could keep going? Crucifixion itself is one of the most horrific forms of torture man has ever created―it’s a slow, agonizing drowning … suspended naked, humiliated by gawkers … wanting death to come, but having just enough reflex left in your body that you keep gulping air. But before this ever happened to Jesus, He was beaten, sleep deprived, food deprived, spit upon, mocked, and had his back mercilessly ripped open.

What makes this even more amazing to me is that He knew it was coming!

What was His attitude toward all this? Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, Who for the joy set before Him endured the Cross (Hebrews 12:2).

How could Jesus go through such unspeakable hell with joy? Because He knew the aftermath! He knew He was paying for our sins, healing our disease, rescuing us from death, and purchasing eternal life for you and me.

When we are going through a difficult time, we might find a reason to hold on because someone else who has gone through it before us says to us, “Been there, done that, got the scars to prove it. I made it through, and you can too!

Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be My disciple must take up his cross and follow Me.” We can only carry our crosses because He carried His first―He carried our cross first and won! He went through hell, kept going for the joy set before Him, and now He is the Victor!! He’s been there, done that, and still has the scars to prove it!

You cannot go through hell on your own. But you can put your faith in the One Who defeated Hell and Death itself! With your faith in what Christ’s scars purchased for us, you can say with the psalmist―

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for You are with me. Your rod and Your staff comfort me. You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint me with You joy. Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all of the days of my life, and I will dwell in Your presence forever! (Psalm 23)

Easter Stories (book review)

Easter StoriesMiriam LeBlanc has compiled a lovely collection of stories in Easter Stories: Classic Tales for the Holy Season. The stories themselves are not always classics (in the sense of being well known), but the authors are certainly a Who’s Who list.

Some of the better known authors include André Trocmé, Anton Chekhov, C.S. Lewis, The Brothers Grimm, and Oscar Wilde. The stories were collected in this book because they talk about sacrifice, new birth, new beginnings, and new life: all the themes echoed in the biblical story of Christ’s sacrificial death and resurrection.

These are great stories to introduce others to the story of Easter without turning to the passages in the Bible. These stories can introduce the themes of salvation, reconciliation, and new life, which will then allow Christians to lead their family and friends to the foundational stories in Scripture.

This is not only an excellent way to introduce the Easter themes to others, but also to introduce them to some of the more meaningful authors.

I am a Plough Publishing House book reviewer.

The Cross Of Jesus (book review)

The Cross Of JesusWarren Wiersbe writes early on in The Cross Of Jesus, “Unless we go back to the Cross, we can’t go forward in our Christian life.” How true this is, and what a wonderful job Rev. Wiersbe does in taking us back to the Cross!

This book is divided into four sections: What Jesus saw in the Cross, why Jesus died on the Cross, what Jesus said from the Cross, and how believers should live by the Cross. In essence we go back to the beginning to learn how we should now live because of the work Christ completed on the Cross.

Wiersbe quotes Charles Spurgeon as saying, “On whatever subjects I may be called to preach, I feel it to be a duty which I dare not neglect to be continually going back to the doctrine of the Cross—the fundamental truth of justification by faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

Whether you are wondering what significance Christ’s death at Calvary has for anything, or if you have been a believer in Christ’s atoning death for decades, or you are anywhere in between, going back for a fresh look at the old rugged Cross―and the Savior Who was sacrificed there―is always beneficial. And The Cross Of Jesus is an excellent book to guide you through your journey.

Links & Quotes

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Some great reading I found today.

God has sought us out: let us have good hope for those who are laid upon our hearts in prayer, for He will find them out also. … It is a point of honor with Jesus to seek and to save all the flock, without a single exception. What a promise to plead!” —Charles Spurgeon

Where is the outrage?! Christian Girls Abducted & Raped In Egypt.

[INFOGRAPHI] Right on the heels of Easter, Bible Overview has a great infographic of everyone in the Bible who was raised from the dead.

The apostles had this instinct: When in trouble, pray. When intimidated, pray. When challenged, pray. When persecuted, pray!” —Jim Cymbala. Read more from Pastor Cymbala’s great post on prayer.

“Throughout our history Americans have put their faith in God and no one can doubt that we have been blessed for it. The earliest settlers of this land came in search of religious freedom. Landing on a desolate shoreline, they established a spiritual foundation that has served us ever since.” —Ronald Reagan

“Nobody ever got anything from God on the grounds that he deserved it. Having fallen, man deserves only punishment and death. So if God answers prayer it’s because God is good.” —A.W. Tozer

Sacrifice is not giving up things, but giving to God with joy the best we have.” —Oswald Chambers

Do You Smell Like Jesus?

Christ's aromaScientists tell us that the sense of smell contributes to more vivid and clear memory recall than any of the other human senses. Have you ever thought about the things Jesus smelled? Or about the memories others recalled about Jesus because of the way He smelled?

Less than a week before His crucifixion, Mary anointed Jesus with a highly-scented spice called spikenard (see John 12:1-8; Mark 14:3-9; and Matthew 26:6-13). Let me rephrase that: Mary didn’t just “anoint” Jesus as we think about that word today, she doused Him in a lifetime supply of this fragrance. Some people complained, but Jesus told those sour people that it was absolutely beautiful what she had done, as Jesus carried this aroma with Him to the Cross.

After He died on the Cross, Joseph and Nicodemus prepared Jesus for burial with 75 pounds of myrrh and aloes (see John 19:38-40). Think about that: seventy-five pounds! In doing so they actually fulfilled a prophesy from the Old Testament about King Jesus’ triumphal return to life—

Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of Your kingdom. You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, Your God, has set You above Your companions by anointing You with the oil of joy. All Your robes are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia… (Psalm 45:6-8).

Jesus carried a powerful aroma with Him all the way to the Cross, into the tomb, and when He burst forth alive from the tomb! 

Without Christ, our lives carry the stench of death. We cannot come into our Heavenly Father’s presence because of that putrid smell clinging to us. But when God forgives us of our sins as we place our faith in Jesus, we are wrapped in the robes of Christ: we smell like Him and are welcomed into the Father’s presence.

Easter is a reminder of how a forgiven Christian should now live—

Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered Himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God (Ephesians 5:2).

…Now [God] uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God (2 Corinthians 2:14-15).

How do you smell? Do you smell like Jesus? Are others attracted to the aroma of Christ because of what they smell in you? Smelling good honors the work Jesus did on the Cross and in overcoming the grave.

Passion Week Infographic

Passion week infographicJosh Byers produced a great resource for the Passion Week. It lists chronologically all of the events recorded in the Gospels for the week from Palm Sunday to Resurrection Day, along with each of the Scripture references for those events. This would be meaningful way to read your Bible this week.

You can click the image to the left to view it magnified on your screen, or you can download a PDF version by clicking here → Passion week infographic.

If you really love Josh’s work, click here to go to his site to purchase a physical print.

But whatever you do, let’s observe this Passion Week with Bible reading and prayer.

Links & Quotes

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Some great reading from today.

“What satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could ‘be like gods’—could set up on their own as if they had created themselves—be their own masters—invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God. And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history—money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery—the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.” —C.S. Lewis

“Leadership requires vision, and whence will vision come except from hours spent in the presence of God in humble and fervent prayer?” —A.W. Tozer

[INFOGRAPHIC] Christ’s activities during the Passion Week.

I am proud of my heritage in the Assemblies of God, which is celebrating its centennial this year. Read the history of the fellowship’s creation here and here.

[VIDEO] Logan finds out he’s going to be a big brother.

Astronomers may have found some dark matter at the center of our galaxy. That’s cool, but if we can accept this science by faith, why can’t we accept the biblical version by faith?

Research says forgiving yourself makes you healthier physically.

“When should a Christian, then, be like Jesus Christ? Is there a time when he may strip off his regimentals—when the warrior may unbuckle his armor, and become like other men? Oh! no; at all times, and in every place let the Christian be what he professes to be.” —Charles Spurgeon

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