Sunday, April 26, 2009

Holy Week Part V: Come Monday

It took an extra week to screw up my courage, but I finally did it. I finished my personal journey through Holy Week tonight. I watched Mel Gibson's film, The Passion of the Christ. Anyone who has seen it will know why courage was needed to watch.

It is only the second time I have watched this biblical version of the original Holy Week. The first time was in a theater. I was tranfixed. I was horrified. I was crushed. I was guilty. God forgive me if I ever react any other way to the story of what Christ went through for me.

We all go through our miniscule versions of the sufferings of Christ. We are rejected. All appears lost. God seems nowhere in sight. But the story does not end there. If you are reading this post, chances are you have lived through your own crucifixion. And you have seen the Father's hand of deliverance. You have experienced your own resurrection.

As we end this holy season, may we remain ever mindful that Sunday always follows Friday - that God is faithful. Just as He did for Christ, God will do for us what He said He would do. He will redeem us. He will crush our enemies. He will receive us to sit at the hand of the Father. Hallelujah, indeed.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

The last Word:
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! Now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. Everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
1 John 3: 1-3, NIV.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Holy Week, Part IV: The Third Day

Old Testament
And there was evening, and there was morning - the third day.
Genesis 1:13
On the third day, Abraham looked up and saw the place [where Isaac was to be sacrificed] in the distance.
Genesis 22:4
On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled.
Exodus 19:16
On the third day Esther put on her royual robes and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king's hall, facing the entrance.
Esther 5:1
Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but He will heal us; He has injured us but He will bind up our wounds. After two days, He will revive us; on the third day He will restore us, that we may live in His presence.
Hosea 6: 1, 2
New Testament
They will kill Him, and on the third day He will be raised to life.
Matthew 17:23
Jesus replied, "Go tell that fox, 'I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal".
Luke 13:32
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.
1 Corinthians 15: 3, 4
May you feel His grace this sacred day,
Gail W.
The last Word:
I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand upon the earth.
Job 19:25, NIV.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Holy Week Part III: The Second Day

The Saturday between Good Friday and Easter is a day of reflection. Today, we ponder the endless silence found in the grave.

I think about Jesus' family and friends, of the bewilderment they must have felt that day. I have been in that place - the place where so many things I was sure of sat in ruins. Which way to turn next?

Before the third day, there is the hopelessness of the second day. The day when all seems lost and God is silent. Today, we consider that but for the hand of God, we would live in the second day forevermore.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

The last Word:
O my God, I cry out by day, but You do not answer.
Psalm 22:2, NIV.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Holy Week Part II: In the Meantime

On Sunday, He rode into Jerusalem amid a cheering crowd. On Thursday, He instituted the Lord's supper. But what about Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday? What was Jesus doing, what was He thinking those last days? He knew what was coming. So how did He fill those days?

We know He dined at Simon the Leper's where "a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on His head" (Mark 14:3, NIV). He knew what was coming. What do you talk about at dinner when you know you will soon be executed?

A single verse in Luke tells us how Christ spent His last days before the ordeal of the cross. "Every day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening He went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives" (Luke 21:37, NIV). He knew what was coming. By day, He was about His Father's business. By night, He withdrew to be strengthened for the days ahead. Tonight, I pray for grace to follow His perfect example.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.
Photo Credit

The last Word:
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:2, NIV.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Holy Week Part I: Applause

Note: Of all holy days/holidays, Easter moves my heart more than any other. At Easter, we mark the most selfless act of Love in the history of mankind. Join me this week as we mark these days of unfathomable truth and mercy.

Palm Sunday. Something big was happening among the Jews. Rhetoric surrounding the carpenter-come-rabbi was escalating. The signs and wonders had become bolder, even to the point, some said, of power over the grave. This had to be it. The long-awaited Messiah, the King of the Jews. The time was ripe. He was going to set His people free once again, just like in the days of Moses.

They filled the streets to celebrate their imminent liberation. How they must have scrambled and clamored to see Him! Here was the one who would soon set them free. The crowd was on its feet. Excitement was at a fever-pitch. This was it!

How sad Jesus must have felt to know this very crowd would soon be demanding his execution. Fame is fleeting. The applause of men comes and goes on the slightest gust of wind. How did Jesus ride through this adoring procession knowing what lay just a few days ahead? Simple - His power and peace did not come from the admiration of men. They came from the certain knowledge He was fulfilling God's will for His life.

I am reminded to take the applause of men lightly, to consider man's natural duplicity of heart. To focus on the only One who can give me lasting worth and purpose. To set my face like flint toward the destiny God has crafted for me. Applause is nice, but it cannot rule our steps. Jesus' experience with the crowd's adoration can teach us much for life today.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.
Photo Credit

The last Word:
Do not store up for yourselves treasure [acclaim] on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and theives break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasure [acclaim] in heaven where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
Matthew 6: 19, 20, NIV.