Thursday, September 8, 2016
from Life Sentences by Warren Wiersbe:
" The Bible opens with the garden of Eden and closes with the garden city of Heaven. It goes from sin and death to holiness and life. What caused the change?"
"Between these two gardens is the Garden of Gethsemane where the Son of God prayed, 'Not my will but yours be done.' (Luke 22:42) and went forth courageously to die on a cross. Because Jesus died and rose again, the curse caused in the first garden has been overcome. The last book in the English Old Testament ends with the word curse (Mal. 4:6), but in the last book of the New Testament we read, 'No longer will there be any curse.' (Rev 22:3) The gift of eternal life is available to all who put their trust in Jesus. The Bible records this remarkable story so you and I may read it, believe it, and experience all that God has for us."
I think of several things as I reread these words written by Warren Wiersbe. First of all, the gardens--Eden, Gethsemane, and Heaven. Is there anywhere more peaceful, inviting and pleasant than a beautiful garden--a place to refresh a weary soul, a place to meditate, a place to rejoice in the beauty of Creation? I had never thought of the Bible story beginning and ending with a garden setting.
Something else Mr. Wiersbe pointed out: the climax of the Biblical story for mankind occurred in the Garden of Gethsemane. I understand the importance of Jesus staying true to the wishes of His Father at that point; but, in the literary analysis, I had never put my finger on that particular situation as being the climax of mankind's struggle for reconciliation with God. The moments Jesus spent in Gethsemane represented the point of no return for Him and for us. After Jesus submitted to God's will in that garden, there was no turning back for Him, no using His supernatural powers to stop the madness, cruelty, and pain being unleashed around Him and upon Him.
In Gethsemane, Jesus chose to suffer the pain and shame associated with the cross in order t o accomplish the task for which He been born the Son of Man. He chose to fulfill the purpose for which His Father had sent him into a sinful world.
The climax of a story is the highest point of suspense, the point at which the conclusion of the story must necessarily come. Before He could leave the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus had been betrayed by Judas and arrested by the authorities and others who despised him. It is through Christ's resurrection that we mortals, humankind, share in the victory over death and are able to look forward to eternal life with God in His heavenly home. Jesus had to die, descend into hell, and conquer death and demons in order to obtain our salvation. But, for a moment, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus, seems to vacillate. In Matthew 26, verses 39, 42, and 44, we see that three times Jesus asked that, if possible, He be spared the awful crucifixion. Each time, however, He also asked that His Father's will, not His, be done. Here is Jesus at a fork in the road: He can avoid the cross, thereby condemning mankind to eternal damnation, or He can endure the agony of the cross and insure mankind eternal life in Heaven if he will only believe in the Resurrection. Jesus chose to sacrifice Himself in order to fulfill God's wishes and save mankind from the eternal darkness of death.
The Bible is a story of God's love for his people, His faithfulness to us, and His willingness to sacrifice for us. The verse, "Greater love has no man than he who lays down His life for another." This verse illustrates God's love for us. God became incarnate and died for us. This sacrifice is especially awesome because God sacrificed His only begotten Son. While I myself might be willing to die for someone or a cause I feel strongly about, I would not willingly sacrifice one of my daughters or grandchildren for anyone.
Men throughout the world and time have wanted a son to carry on the family name. The idea of sacrificing the only son, would not be acceptable to most of us.
I hate the idea of one of my grandsons ever having to go to war or to meet cruel, hateful people who will despise and scorn them because of their skin color, their birthplace, their Christian beliefs. If I were able, I would wrap them in cotton and keep them safe. I do, however, know that God has a plan for each of my grandsons; I know God loves them and will them if they will just listen and follow God's voice.
Yes, sacrificing one' s son for the redemption of others is showing inconceivable love. How awesome and great is God's love for us all! It is by His grace that we are saved from death and look forward to eternal life with all the saints. We look forward to walking with Jesus one day in a heavenly garden from which all curses have been removed.
Thursday, August 25, 2016
I have engraved you on the palm of my hands. Isa. 49:16
Lord, forgive me for putting
so much time and energy
Help me to clear my mind
Help me to stay focused
on You and Your kingdom.
Let me honor You in all I do or say.
Give me patience
with myself and others.
Just as I am not perfect,
let me forgive others
who are not perfect either.
Let me show love and humility to those
with whom I become annoyed.
Let me be a willing, eager servant
to those in need.
Forgive me for not doing
those things I should.
Be with those who are hurt,
sick, …..grieving,….. lonely.
Remind me that they
Let me show kindness… mercy …
love to all.
Let me turn my back
on self pity and jealousy.
Let me return good for evil.
Let me build up
instead of tearing down.
Help me to remember
that my name is engraved
on the palms of Your hands.
Assure me that You
will not forget or desert me.
I praise You
for the goodness and joy
I experience daily.
Thank You, Almighty God
for all things.
In Christ's name.
Lord, I have been so remiss
about having quality time for You,
with You, my Creator and Sustainer.
When I am not putting You first,
I get into trouble with myself and my relationships.
… wallow in self pity,
… feel inferior and worthless.
Lord, help me remember
I cannot bring honor and glory
to Your name
when I am so negative.
I hurt others and myself unnecessarily
--actions that make me feel
more disgusted with myself.
Remind me that I am Your child,
What joy it is to know this;
but, even knowing this,
I continue to let petty slights
hurt and sour my day.
Let me look up, not down.
Let me look inward and find rest and peace for my soul.
Remind me I have been created
to glorify you
to do all things
in accordance with Your will.
I am here to serve, not to be served.
I am to be Your hands and feet, Lord;
I need Your strength and guidance.
Thank you for my family,
for a husband who has loved me over fifty years,
for grandchildren who love us,
for daughters who bless us,
for sons-in-law who value their wives and children,
for my church and church family,
for blessings innumerable. (July 21, 2016)
Let Me Build Others Up
Be with me today.
Let my words and actions
Let my heart sing with joy
because I am Your child.
Let me bring honor and glory
to Your name.
Let me love.
Be with my loved ones;
Guide me to hurting people;
Lead me to places
where I am needed.
Let me feel your holy presence;
Give me strength;
Give me Your comfort
Help me to see the lonely hearts
in my life.
Be with those who mourn
the loss of loved ones,
the loss of the security of routine,
the loss of jobs and traditions.
Assure them that all things
will be done in accordance
with Your Will.
Be with those who are estranged
from family members
Lead them and show them
how to walk across the room
Be with those who live
in the dark caves of depression,
Shine the beacon of Your light on them.
Illuminate the path for them to follow
from the depths of despair
into the sunlight of Your love and grace.
Let them feel the warmth of Your presence.
Lord, as I age, help me
have a positive attitude,
look at myself and evaluate myself
before giving in to the temptation
to point accusing fingers at others.
Thank you for my many blessings/
Let me build others up in love;
not tear them down in jealousy.
In Christ's name.