snapshots along the way: He cares

Jesus showed how much He cared for all people as He walked closer and closer to the cross.

And that same care shines through as alive as if the Easter Story was happening today.

For it is.

When Jesus reached out to feed, comfort, encourage, teach, heal this around Him, His care was evident.

Every thing that matters to us matters to God.

He took the time to heal the ear of the guard who was there to arrest Him.

He took the time to build up Simon Peter, the Rock before the denials occurred.

He took the time to be with all His disciples, even the one yet to betray Him.

He took the time to pray, not stress over what was to come, because everything that matters to God mattered to Him.

Our eternal care was weighing heavy on His shoulders as the cross approached… yet He still took the time to show those He loved how much He cared.

His best friend & mother.

The thieves on either side of Him.

The tearing of the veil to let His people know for certain their Messiah had come.

There was no detail too small or overlooked in His life, especially His public life, because He took great care to reveal His care.

By giving up His life, Jesus demonstrated His extravagant love and care for the world in a costly, painfully necessary way.

He gifted us with the full weight of His care on the cross.

He took our sin upon Himself because He cares.

The Word has many verses that stand to remind us how caring our God is….but only one is needed to show the full picture of His heart for us.

For God so cared and loved the world, He gave up His only beloved Son, the One He adores, to death on the cross. Who ever chooses to believe in Jesus, and accepts His free gift of His heart poured out for our wrongdoings, will live with Him forever and ever.

John 3:16, my translation

There is no better illustration of His caring for us that giving up His own Son to help us make our way Home to Him.

And this care?

Lives on in the hearts & lives of those who follow Him. As we reach out our hands to help the needy, comfort the grieving, come alongside the lonely, support the hurting and love up on all we can, His care lives on through us.

Like fragile eggs, we the weak become His care package to the world.

#snapshotsalongtheWay
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snapshots along the way: His focus

What astounds me almost as much as His love?

How Jesus was able to keep His focus, His purpose first and foremost while He was here on earth.

You know, as I was thinking about His character, the fact that He never sinned struck me in a completely different way today.

Yes, He is Holy, and the perfect sacrificial Lamb for my sins.

But when we was with us?

He never sinned.

Think about that for a sec.

When we sin, we either offend God, or one another.

Jesus never lost His focus when He was on earth. He was here to show perfect love.

That means He never swore at anyone, He never used His words to intentionally deliberately harm, but to point out the truth in love.

He never caused another person harm. 

Wow!

Even more so, He never caused His Father to be ashamed of Him because of His actions.

Stunned with silence.

How many times have we lost our focus, our purpose in our days?  In the heat of the moment, we allow our emotions to take over and dictate our behavior instead of relying on His way out.

Jesus was never ruled by His emotions, but by His Spirit.

Did He cry? Oh yes.  I believe His heart was hurting when His cousin John the Baptist was beheaded while in jail.  I suspect He cried over Lazarus because of those he left behind, Mary & Martha, who’d have been devastated at the loss of their beloved brother & likely provider.  But He kept His focus, and the purpose for which He came in mind.

Did He hunger & thirst? Fasting in the desert for 40 days would suggest He did.  Could He relate to those who were hungry? Feeding the crowd with a simple fish & bread takeout lunch show us He did…

His compassion for us revealed His focus, His love for us revealed His purpose.

The only way Home was with us, and never lost sight of why He was here.

Only His actions could restore us to God.

There was only One Way, and even though He was frightened as the man, the God stood firm by His choice, and kept going.

He continued to love up on the disciples, knowing they would scatter like fraidy cats, deny Him or worse yet, betray Him to the ones who would kill Him.

Even on the cross, He thought of His mother, and ask His best friend to care for her.

He never faltered in His steps towards fulfilling His purpose.

Humanity was the focus of why He came.

His longing to bring us all Home fueled His purpose.

Making a way back Home for all those who were, are lost.

His actions showed that you & I were on His mind all along.

We were always on His mind.

He never lost His focus, or forgot His purpose, and He can help us do the same.

Knowing why we are here and what we are called to do is only the first step.

Asking Him to keep us on track with every step is the part Jesus modeled so well, and longs for us to do as well.

May He become our sole focus as we live out our purpose.

#snapshotsalongtheWay

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snapshots along the Way: He Knew

You knew.

You knew that the same people who cried Hosanna as You entered Jerusalem were the same ones who would pick up the stones to judge one another’s sin, and nail You to the cross.

You knew.

You knew we all hide our brokenness under the cover of what we think others want us to be and the pain, shame and agony of holding in our sin & the sin done to us could not be set free any other way.

You knew.

You knew this before You came.
God with us.
Yet You came anyway.

You knew this & kept it in the forefront of Your thought as You helped landscape the earth, design the canopy of stars & planets in the skies above, fashion the depths of the ocean floors, hang the sun and moon in place and set the seasons on their annual rotation.

You knew.

You knew the man and woman You fashioned with such care and love would stray and break Your heart, and let sin enter us all, yet You went ahead with Your plan anyways.

Because You knew Your bride would be worth it.

Honestly God, there are times I don’t get it. Like Hosea, I struggle with the love You ask me to show, yet I know You love me so deeply and permanently, despite all I do.

You know.

You know me better than i know myself.

You know all of us this way.

And because of this love, hearing the inner cry of the broken we all cry within the secret places we keep hidden, You chose to come and be one of us.

To show us how depending 100% on Abba can make a difference in how we can live our lives.

To show us just how far Love will go to show the one He loves the enormity of His affection & longing.

To show us we never have to be alone again.

As we head along the journey once again towards the cross, may we take the time to admit we are the reason He had to head there.

We needed to see His love in action in order to get, to grasp, just how much He loves us.

He knew.

#snapshotsalongtheWay
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you can’t have one without the other

Which holiday do you prefer, Christmas or Easter?

This is one of those questions I have thought deep and long about.

Christmas and Easter are not stand alone, exclusive events.

They are fantastically intertwined expressions of God’s intervention into history. HiStory as God intended.

Christmas.
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(image from: http://www.flowingfaith.com/2011/12/hunting-4-the-perfect-christmas-gift.html)

The reveal of God with us.
Among us.
Loving us as one of us.
The Presence of God overwhelming Mary to create Jesus.

Fast forward 33 years, give or take a few days.
Passover.
The criminal was passed over as Jesus was chosen to die in his place, on the cross, between two other criminals.

The reveal of God for us.
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(Image by Ann Voskamp, http://www.aholyexperience.com)

Jesus took all we could never remove from ourselves, the stain of sin started in the original garden, faced it with a willingness to follow in the garden of His betrayal, took the blows intended for us, and remained on the cross out of His great love for US.

Despite the great physical, emotional and spiritual pain.
He alone took the weight of the world, and gave Himself up to death.

God for us.
Doing what we could not-
making things right between us again.
God did it for us.

For us.
Because He knew there was no other way.
He alone is and was and will always be the way.

The pain and anguish of Good Friday, where Jesus passed over to death.

The despair of silence.
Unsure what had happened.
Knowing something amazing did.
Not seeing the point yet.
Saturday.

The triumph of Sunday.
He rose, fully God and man.
Defeated the enemy.
Paid the price for all sin,
even though He did not take part in sinning.

The gift of Christmas, God with us,
became the gift of Easter, God for us.

If Jesus had never been born, we would never have had Easter.

Easter could not have happened without God coming down and doing for us what we could not do on our own.

Jesus.

HiStory changed us all forever.

You can’t have the new life, rebirth without His death.

Unwrapping Christmas leads to Calvary.

You can’t have the one without the other, without missing the point.

God so loved every single person who has, does and ever will exist that He gave the world the gift of His son, Jesus.

God with us.

So Jesus could do the work needed to bring us to God.

God for us.

It took His presence to be the present
we desperately needed to be free.

Christmas and Easter are one in HiStory.
One ultimate seamless love story.
That leads to one Home.
God in us.
Us in God.
Forevermore.
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(Image from: http://propheticalert.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/heaven.jpg)