Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Ugliness of the Cross

It’s interesting how we view the cross as something pretty to hang on the wall. I mean every church that I’ve ever walked into had at least one on the wall if not in their main sanctuary. And I don’t find that strange because I think it should be there to remind us of the cost of our sin. What our sins cost Jesus Christ. You see what I don’t understand is why the cross is decorated so nicely. It was ugly.

It was Easter this past weekend and crosses everywhere were nice and pristine with purple fabric draped so delicately around the cross beam. On the original Easter weekend the cross didn’t look like that. In fact the only thing close to purple on the dogwood that day was Jesus’ blood flowing from his open wounds. I could not imagine my body nailed to a tree my bare back rubbing against the wood, which unlike the crosses we see on the walls at church and in homes, were probably not sanded and lacquered to give it a shiny coat. No, more than likely it was rough, scraping off every scab that formed from the previous whippings that He took. The cross is not beautiful; it is ugly. It is to remind us of what our sin did to Christ…it killed him, and to remind us what our sin deserves…death. Not a quick, pretty, clean death, but one that is so unbearable and excruciating. I can’t imagine that. And I don’t want to. It is ugly.

No the only thing beautiful about the cross that Friday morning was that Christ’s love for us was far greater than His love for Himself. The beauty of the cross is that He took our place.

The cross killed Jesus; He cursed himself by hanging on that tree, so that you and me could stand righteous before our Lord. It was only three days later that He resurrected powerfully from the grave defeating death and giving us, who believe in Him, eternal life. That is the beauty. That even though our savior died the grave could not hold Him. The beauty is Christ. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

From There to Here

I started this blog to begin anew. I've had a blog for class, for a 2 month trip, and now this one to move forward.

I just got done reading my old blogs and it reminded me of my mission trip to Africa last summer. It was definitely an interesting trip. God moved in me a lot and I was challenged in a way that I have never been before. I struggled every day while I was there. I didn't want to be there. The African people were nice and the food was bearable. The bathroom and shower situations, or lack there of, was not the issue either. For me it was the group and organization I was with. I hardly felt accepted, I felt alone and unsupported by my "team." I didn't agree with their beliefs on speaking in tongues, prophesy, or the Bible.

To clarify, I do believe in both of those spiritual gifts and I firmly stand on the Word of God, the Bible. If it doesn't match up with the Bible I question if it matches up with God. I don't think either is a dead gift, but I do believe the Bible gives us many examples of both that we can somewhat understand what is and is not of His spirit. And the forcing of speaking in tongues is not, and the saying an encouraging word to make someone feel good is not specifically prophesying. God uses the Bible to speak to us. In fact that's how he speaks to the majority of Christians. More than audibly, more than through others, more than through any other means. And if I am told to stop reading my Bible from someone who never picks theirs up I will boldly without hesitation tell them NO! and why.

Yes there were good times in Africa and I completely believe that is because I leaned on God every minute of the day to give me that joy. I came back from my trip skeptical about everything and that made me bitter towards my group and that organization. I had wished I didn't go with them and have to deal with them. But I am now able to be glad for the trip and the experience. I had to know what I know and why. I had to rely on God more than any other time in my life. I wish I could rely on Him like that now when I am comfortable.

So I am not very good at keeping a daily devotional. I try and will go for a few days sometimes a week or two and then get off track. That is something I am desiring more and more, the time alone with God. How do I get into that habit of needing and wanting it more. I've had 3 devotionals in the past 4 days. I want more. This time with God is important to me and yet I don't give Him enough.

I say this to show you that I am not perfect and still growing in my relationship with my Lord. This blog is first for me to be able to look back on and see how God has worked in my life, but second for you so that you can see some one's story of life seeking the Father. He's given us so much let's give it back, and praise Him for it.

For His glory,