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The purpose of the stations of the cross is to stop and meditate about each stage of the events leading to and including his death and resurrection. For me it is an opportunity to pause and in a way kneel and honour my Lord for his sacrifice and his salvation wrought on the cross for me. I think the Passion of the Christ movie transformed many peoples imagination about this event. Before you could gloss over the gospel accounts and mentally understand that yes Jesus died on the cross for me, but without having to really see what he suffered for our sake. The Passion movie shook that to the core for may people, including myself who still hasn’t watched it, despite the fact we own it. The Passion movie made what was real real before our eyes. The stations of the cross have always sought to do this in a way. It gives people visual stations to stop and contemplate and pray.
Station two is Jesus carrying his cross.
John 19:17 [ The Crucifixion ] So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).
the phrase here that jumps out is that Jesus carried his own cross. He carried his own instrument of death. He carried the burden of sin and death upon his own shoulders. This sin and this execution though wasn’t his by guilt. If we talk about guilt then it is and was us who were guilty. He took upon himself, in his own body, our sin and our punishment.
Isaiah 53:10 Yet it pleased Jehovah to crush Him; to grieve Him; that He should put forth His soul as a guilt-offering.
Jesus even prayed that if it was possible for another way, for another solution, for that to be done… but then he surrendered…
Matthew 26:39 And He went a little further and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.
This was no easy thing. It was not a walk in the park. It was exactly what it reads it is – a trial, a cross, a death, an execution… a resurrection… a saving… a forgiving… redeeming… there was blood and pain and suffering.
I think of the suffering and the pain and I am overcome again with gratitude and appreciation that can not be put into words. I am at a loss to respond. I can only give my life and continue to live for God and seek Him and to know Him. For what was won for me was the access to relationship with God and who am I to turn away.
The love of God is demonstrated in each step Jesus takes with his cross. Each step towards death is a step that shows me that I am loved. Each step is a demonstration of the beautiful surrender and trust Jesus shows in his Father. Not my will… step… but your will… step… not my will… but your will… for those lost sheep…. Not for me… but for those lost sheep… I will carry my cross.
At this station we should remember the words of Jesus…
Luke 14:27 And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
We are called to follow his example. To take our own cross and with each step surrender in faith, looking not at the right now but at the heavenly purpose and prize. Not for me… but for the lost… not for me… but the glory of God.
When Jesus says, “Come to me,” he doesn’t say come to religion, come to a system, or come to a certain doctrine. This is a very personal invitation to a God, and invitation to a Savior.
Our God is not aloof—he’s not so far above us that he can’t see and understand our problems. Jesus isn’t a God who stayed on the mountaintop—he’s a Savior who came down and lived and worked with the people. Everywhere he went, the crowds followed, drawn together by the magnet that was—and is—the Savior.
The life of Jesus Christ is a message of hope, a message of mercy, a message of life in a dark world.
this is my heart cry for 2009. none but jesus. that i will know him more and obey him more and follow him more and love him more and see him more and trust him more and make him known more. not my way, but his way. for he is glorious and wonderful and mighty and compassionate and he bowed down to save me and so i live for him.
Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does. — William James
what kind of things make a difference…. a smile… taking a packet of chocy biscuts into work for morning tea… a friendly email to say, hi, i was thinking of you…. a card in the mail to a friend…. a hug…. a cup of tea after a long day…. a compliment…. a kind word… a saved seat at church… helping wash up after dinner…. lending a book…. lending a cd…
you get my drift… little things… simple things… but they can make a real idffernece to someones day. we dont know what is going on behind closed doors, and the smile we see may just be for “appearnces sake” (not to be rude… i know i do it… cos i also like being with people etc…) and so even the smallest kindness can make a differnece. we do not see the lonileness of someones heart, or their fears and insecurities. people do not often project their hurts and worries to others… they hide them.
but God sees.
he sees all.
and so we, his children. can make a difference. we can share the love.
simple things. but they make a difference.
Kudos to Helen @ Helen Has A Blog for this post that i found incredibly challenging in a good way.
Sometimes we can look at the outside of a person – or the outside of oruselves and think we’re doing okay, when in fact we’re acting a bit loveless. My heart in posting this ISNT so that we feel condemened or inferior or inqdeuqte but that we remember what the main thing is as christians – loving God.
- reading books about the Bible/God is no substitute for reading the Bible
- talking about God is no substitute for talking to God
- having friends who go deep in God is no substitute for going deep in God yourself
- planning lots of fasting days and huge chunks of set-aside prayer time etcetc… but always intending yet never actually doing… is no substitute for being faithful with a little (Matthew 25:21)
- being able to quote a whole bunch of verses off the top of your head is no substitute for having them written on your heart (Proverbs 7:3)
- knowing facts about God is no substitute for intimate knowledge of the Person of God
- speed-reading your way through lots of chapters is no substitute for long and loving meditation
- having numerous commentaries sitting on your bookshelf is no substitute for actively pursuing the knowledge of God
- listening to a worship CD is no substitute for actually worshipping the Lord physically being in a prayer meeting is no substitute for actually praying… just your heart crying out to the Lord…
- hearing the word of God is no substitute for putting it into practice (Ezekiel 33:31)
- sacrifice is no substitute for obedience (1 Samuel 15:22)
- having His name ever on my lips is no substitute for having Him close to my heart (Jeremiah 12:2)
- “having it all together” on the outside is no substitute for a heart of truth, humility and righteousness (Matthew 23:27)
- being able to put Daniel 9 in a nice little timeline is no substitute for a heart that is truly prepared for the End Times
- having the role of a lead worshipper is no substitute for encountering the Lord in worship
- a big ministry is no substitute for personal fellowship with the Lord… where it’s just you and Him alone…
- a quick ‘thanks God’ when everything seems to be going well is no substitute for truly living with a grateful heart in all seasons and situations
saying all this ^^ is no substitute for actually living it
It is time to refreshen our own spirit in the secret place that we may be prepared to serve and demonstrate the power nad love and grace of God where we go. It is a time for no reservations and relentless pursuit of the presence of God. ONE THING! ONE THING! ONE THING do I desire. One thing does God desire that we rise up and be people who know our God. That we may know him and be strong and do exploits!
Ii’m a big believer that God gives us dreams for our lives, of things we can do that will bring him glory. and just to right off the bat say it doesnt need to be dreams that fall into secular or spiro catergories. God gives people unique tailor made dreams and that is awesome!
I believe that our own lives are the starting point, the springboard for dreams. As dreamers, we need to put our dreams into the realm of reality. Dream fulfilling begins today with fostering a right attitude and heart towards ministry. It begins with equipping ourselves with skills to do what God has called us to do. It begins by praying and seeking God for wisdom, his heart for the lost and the people of God. It begins by being challenged to pursue God, to live a right clean life and to be sharpened by like minded people (iron sharpens iron). It begins with small opportunities – baby steps.
As we take steps to walk into our dreams (in particular a dream of preaching for me) we need to remember:
- It’s all about JESUS
- Lifetime of preparation
- Preaching is 1% of a life time of service
- Preaching is in context of ministry and service
- God has the keys to open any doors
- Preparation for preaching ministry is long term – no short cuts
- The Word of God is the Message – must rightly divide it
- Life is lived in the secret place – your own private devotions and relationship with God and obedience does matter!!!
Be ready at all times – you never know what is around the corner!
In all you do be a demonstration of the grace and love of God
It’s okay to dream (but understand preaching is not by right nor might! But by the anointing and calling and appointing of God – in his time! No certificate will give access to the pulpit!)
What is your dream? How can you see that being outworked in your own life? Can you see steps to take to live it out? It’s not about “making it happen” or being the master of your own destiny – it is about living your life in the context of your dreams and passion, not just dreaming it or wishing it.
Mark 10:46-52 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the Son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.
The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
Bartimaeus was a blind man. He had a liscence to beg. This was in the shape of his cloak. This gave him permission to beg on the side of the road. He was a full time professional begger. This was how he made money to eat and survive. Without the cloak he could not beg legally.
However when Bartimaeus heard Jesus passing by he cast aside his cloak and encountered God.
Jesus came to Jerico. There is no mention of what he did between coming and going. But it was enough to give Bartimaeus hope and faith that Jesus could heal him and change his life. As Jesus passed by Bartimaeus called out to him – “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Bartimaeus though he was blind and could not see Jesus with his physical eyes SAW plain enough WHO Jesus really was. the blind man saw what many others failed to see. Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of David, the Saviour of the World.
Jesus called him over. This was all Bartimaeus needed to hear. He was going to meet Jesus. His life was going to change. He would be healed. There was no doubt or reservation with him. He was called over and so the natural conclusion of that encounter would be healing and transformation.
He cast aside his beggers liscence. He cast aside his cloak. He threw it down. He no longer would need it. NOTE: He cast it aside BEFORE he was healed. He was not yet healed but knew he was about to meet with Jesus when he cast aside his beggers liscence, that which brought in provision for himself. His livelihood was wrapped up and symbolised in that cloak. He had faith however that with encountering Jesus would come healing. A healed man doesnt need to beg no more, he can go and work. His life would be totally changed.
Are we approaching Jesus while still wearing a beggers cloak???
Are we coming to Jesus with the faith and expectation that Bartimaeus demonstrated?
Are we coming to Jesus filled with hope and faith that Jesus will transform us and meet our need and that in Him we find all answers?
Are we responding to Jesus in faith?
Or are we holding onto our beggers cloak – one foot in both camps and sitting on the wall – to use and mix my metaphors…
Ephesisans 3:16-21 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
I believe God does desire us to Know Him and make Him known by reflecting Him. He desires us to spend time with Him, trusting Him, getting to know Him.
God desires us to come to maturity in Him, to be transformed into the likeness of His Son Jesus.
2 Corinthians 3:18
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
And I—in righteousness I will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son.
Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away. And every one that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bring forth more fruit.
He desires us to walk holy with Him and wholly with Him, along His road – because obedience pleases Him, and because it is the best road (not to say it is a road of propserity or happy happy joy joy as it is the narrow road and a cross bearing road, a road of fire and flood but it is the way of holiness, and the way He has prepared and walks with us)
This road is a road that tests us and shapes us. It is a road that teaches us patience, love, forgiveness, self-control and all the attributes of Christ. It is a road that teaches us to surrender for the glory of God. As Job said in Job 13:15 “Though he slay me, yet I will trust in Him.” It is a road that makes us sometimes ask WHY GOD, but then lay at His feet praying “Your Kingdom come, Your Will be done, in my life…”
Circumstances occur that shape us; difficulties in this world in our relationships, with money, with illness, with emotional struggles, with self doubts, with fears, with many things. These are all opportunities to let God transform us. These are opportunities for us to pray and lean upon our Lord, our Provider, our Healer, our Comforter, our Father. They are opportunities for the cross to work in our lives.
We are not alone as we walk this road.
1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has taken you but what is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able, but with the temptation also will make a way to escape, so that you may be able to bear it.
Take My yoke on you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest to your souls.
And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, so that He may be with you forever the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive because it does not see Him nor know Him. But you know Him, for He dwells with you and shall be in you. I will not leave you orphans. I will come to you.
Therefore let us come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
We can pray. We can seek God.
“When I thought deeply in order to understand this, it was painful for me, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood their end.”
We can surround ourselves with encouraging God loving people, who also pray and also are wise and can see our circumstances for what they are, and strengthen us when we feel weak. God puts us in families, natural families, extended families and church families. He gives us friends. Seek wise counsel.
We need to walk with God. We need to abide in Him, which to me means we need to trust Him, and know His Word, allowing that to be the framework we base our decisions, our thoughts, our structure upon.
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it remains in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the Vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
Above all else, we need to choose today to obey and follow God. We need to choose to surrender. We need to choose to walk where our Lord leads us. We need to choose to lean upon Him
Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the Child of a peasant woman. He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty, and then for three years He was an itinerant preacher. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never owned a home. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put His foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place where He was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself. He had nothing to do with this world except the naked power of His Divine manhood. While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a Cross between two thieves. His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth while He was dying—and that was His coat. When He was dead He was taken down and laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend. Such was His human life—He rises from the dead. Nineteen wide centuries have come and gone and today He is the Centerpiece of the human race and the Leader of the column of progress. I am within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that ever were built, and all the parliaments that ever sat, and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that One Solitary Life. –James C. Hefley