Since this is Good Friday, I decided that it would be better to feature something related to the Cross. Knowing I would face the decision of how best to handle today’s post, I began making mental notes whenever one of my fellow Christian bloggers posted something specifically about Christ’s suffering. This High Holy season for Christians just should not ever become routine and certainly never become buried under the trappings of bunnies and baskets. Knowing what Christ did on our behalf should always prompt us to pause from the ordinary to reflect upon His extraordinary sacrifice.
I have encountered so many talented, inspirational writers through blogging, so my decision about today’s feature was difficult. However, one person shone above the rest, for a couple of reasons. First, today’s featured author has a nice website with uplifting posts, but one recently about the Passion really grabbed my attention. In addition, this author is a person who has his own cross, which he must daily bear. Today’s Friday Feature focuses on an individual with an amazing testimony, and an even more incredible gift of using his personal cross as an avenue of blessing others. It is my honor to feature:
Though afflicted at an early age of a devastating and progressive illness (the details of which he describes on his blog), Bill has done what plenty others in similar circumstances did not: he chose to allow his horrendous trial on this earth to drive him to the Cross and not away. Rather than blaming God and running the other direction, he chose the high and very courageous road of seeing his circumstances from God’s perspective and in the process, found the unshakable hope for which his blog gets its name.
During the few months since I discovered Unshakable Hope, I have never heard Bill complain or express any bitterness over his circumstances. Instead, he pours into others through encouraging, thoughtful posts. Although I only know of Bill from his website, I am certain that he is very human and must have many weak moments in his faith, but one would never know of this from what he writes. His cross, though immense, he always uses to point to the One who understands and helps us bear our burdens. He always points them to The Cross.
I thank you Bill, for being an inspiration, and for using your struggle as an avenue of encouraging others. If you have not already discovered his site, I recommend you check him out. Without a doubt, you do not want to miss his recent post, It is Finished, in which he uses dynamic photos to accompany a poem about the Crucifixion, and his About Bill page for his touching testimony. You can also follow the link above to this awesome site!
Written as this author’s opinion.
Some of them are worn as earrings,
some dangled on chains about the neck.
Most call crosses beautiful,
But that depends on Who you ask.
Used to decorate our T-shirts,
Displayed on colored window glass.
Yet, for Christ, the Cross meant pain and death,
If not for us, He would’ve passed.
He died but once; that’s all it took,
Redeeming love, our souls to win.
But if not so, and it took more,
He’d surely do it all again.
The Cross, to us, will always be
A sweet reminder of Christ’s love.
Although for Him, it was not pretty,
He endured it all, for joy above.
“Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him ENDURED the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Let Me unleash My love,
Unlock My Presence,
Speak with My voice, and
Use My life-giving Power.
Don’t harbor My Spirit.
It only hinders Me.
Don’t pollute My Water.
It only quenches Me
Be a well that let’s others
Drink only Me.
Be poured out for Me
An overflowing well, flowing free
Broken pots are best at allowing Me to flow free.
“…Spring up, O Well…”
Worship, Set Free
We get tripped up
Thinking there must be formality in worship.
There is not.
We get hung up
Following some formula for worship.
How is not.
We get messed up
Believing there is one place for worship.
Where is not.
We get worked up
Worrying about how often we must worship.
When is not.
Worship, if imprisoned
By such rules of constraint,
Will never reach heaven
With its melodious refrain.
For worship does not reside
In some how or where or when.
True worship is from the heart,
Not defined by rules of men.
Like birds, by freely singing,
Announce their joy of morn anew.
Worship, that’s best and pleasing
Is a tune unhindered, flowing ever freely, too.
“I will freely sacrifice to You; I will praise Your name, O LORD, for it is good.”
“I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and I will glorify Your name forevermore.”
By Sue Nash
“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.”
Today’s feature is somewhat different. While normally used to showcase one of my favorite blogs, today’s post is uniquely different. Typically, I plan to highlight another Christian author, or perhaps even someone gifted in inspirational photography, graphics or music; today, however, I present a work by Someone of the Utmost caliber. Unlike all others, this Friday Feature surpasses the rest.
Author of the most important Book ever written, I present One who He excels above all in talent. There is no wisdom, understanding or counsel against Him. Not only is He the Author, He is also Master Craftsman, Intricate Knitter, and Supreme Creator. Quite honestly, if I were to list every fabulous quality about this One, and to tell of His wondrous glory, the number of words left to read would split the Internet wide open. His Name needs no introduction because it is a Name above all Names, but just in case someone reading this post has never heard of or met Him, I introduce Jesus Christ, the only One True God.
Although I usually post a link directing readers to a site, today’s Featured Guest has no need of a website to share His portfolio of talent. One need only gaze upward into the heavens to view His spectacular canvas, or look down at the lilies of the field to appreciate His grand designs.
If those magnificent works of Creation are not convincing proof as to His excellent greatness, though, I have posted below an amazing glimpse of one of His splendid works in progress. The predicted completion date is June of 2013. I trust you will marvel with the grandparents at this masterpiece on display. More than anything, however, I pray that if you haven’t already, you will acknowledge Jesus as Lord of all, and surrender your life to Him.
*If you feel a tugging at your heart to know Christ, it is His Holy Spirit drawing you to Himself. There is only One Way to heaven and that is through Jesus. He’s calling you to give Him your life. Talk to Him from Your heart:
Time’s almost up.
I’m young and I’m free,
So just let me be.
Time quickly flees.
I’m just having fun.
I’m not hurting anyone.
Time’s nearly done.
I’m doing fine.
I just need to unwind.
Time won’t rewind.
I’m not doing wrong.
I just want to belong.
Time’s almost gone.
I just like to play,
I’ll settle down one day.
Time’s slipping away.
Don’t worry or fret,
I’ll follow Him yet.
Time’s almost spent.
I’ve got things yet undone,
I’ll be ready when He comes.
Time’s almost up.
“Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.”
In this life, there are many reasons for not looking back. I do not want to review past mistakes. I never want to revisit previous disappointments, painful hurts or traumatic events. Primarily, though, I could not bear to drag up memories of watching again someone I love suffer, then die. Such things belong in the past.
Mention of Abraham’s nephew Lot occurs numerous times in Scripture, but his wife is probably more famous for one reason. She looked back. Her erroneous backward glance was fatal. Hers was a type of longingly looking back. She longed for Sodom. Her heart remained there. Unfortunately, neither the people of Sodom, nor Lot’s wife, had hearts pleasing to Him. Her infamous look back was for the wrong reason because she wanted to return from whence she came.
Lot’s wife became a pillar of salt; by default, she is a reminder of how we can avoid the same mistake. God does not want us to long for what the world offers, to pine for the way things used to be or to fixate on how things could be. Simply put, He does not want us dwelling on any former things if they cause us to long for them or forget Him. That was God’s rub with Lot’s wife.
While there are many reasons for not looking back, there are some for which we should. Because He does not ever want us to forget His redeeming love, Jesus asks that we remember His sacrificial atonement by partaking of Communion. In order to teach us that He is faithful and that His Truth is unchanging, He asks that we remember His promises. So that we will never doubt Him or His goodness, God also asks that we remember His marvelous works that He has done.
There is a wonderful song out recently, We Will Remember, which focuses on looking back for the right reasons:
We will remember
We will remember
We will remember
The works of Your hands
We will stop
And give You praise
For great is Thy faithfulness
Remembering what God has done and is capable of doing is a remarkable antidote to discouragement and despair. When looking back, if our reference point is on God and the pure, lovely, praiseworthy things He orchestrates, it changes our perspective in the here and now. Remembering His creation resurrects a sense of wonder and leads to praise. Thinking of His mighty acts of deliverance in former times generates encouragement and births hope. Recounting the ways in which He has worked wondrously in our own lives or others, brings an awareness of progress and restores a tenacity to press for more. If done for the right reasons and on the right things, looking back is immensely beneficial.
The night my dad died, I asked my husband how long it would take until the hurt subsided. Having already lost both of his parents, I figured he would know. When asked, he paused and then replied, “It never goes away. You just learn to replace the sad feelings with good memories.” At the time, I could not fully absorb his consolation, since I wanted a quick fix to my mourning. As the months passed, though, I understood that what he spoke was true. The remedy to my grieving was allowing God to replace my sad memories with treasured ones of my dad. Gradually, I learned to ignore memories of when he was sick or hurting with those of when he was laughing or enjoying his family. My sweet husband taught me a needed lesson about remembering, one that enabled me to move forward through my grief.
Just like with Lot’s wife, we only get into trouble if we are longing wrongly or if we are stuck in the past. God wants forward thinking and reaching. He wants a forgetting the things behind and pressing forward to what lies ahead. That means we must leave the past in the past, including former sins that have been confessed and forgiven. We tend to look back on those things and remember all the wrong; God only sees the Blood. Although our mistakes and problems may bring consequences and scars, they can be the very avenue of revealing His purpose in our lives. He does not want us remembering what happened before and remain there; instead, God wants us to remember His promise that we have brighter and better things in store.
I love this children’s song called, He’s Still Working on Me:
This simple song helps me remember that God is not finished with me yet, nor my loved ones either. When I also remember that He is a wondrous God, who does wondrous things, my hope soars like an eagle above temporary problems. Rather than slide down a slippery slope of despair by dwelling on life’s dark valleys or past regrets, I think of my God and the great things yet to come. I recall that He is still working, that He is going to finish all He began and that HE IS ABLE, no matter the battle or difficulty. Instead of giving up or looking back, I will shout our God is good and that He is the faithful One! I will soar. I will remember!